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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

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Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Natural Causes of Postpartum Hemorrhage

Postpartum hemorrhage refers to excessive bleeding by the mother after the birth of a baby. Up to 5% of women experience PPH, and it is more common in situations involving a caesarian birth. This is most likely to happen after the placenta has been delivered.

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Approximately, half a quart of blood is lost after the birth of a single baby with a vaginal birth. In a caesarian birth, however, this is escalated to approximately 1 quart. The majority of PPH happens immediately after delivery, but it can also occur later.

Causes of PPH

The uterus will typically continue to contract to expel any placenta after a baby has been delivered. Upon delivery, these contractions compress bleeding vessels where the placenta was attached. If the uterine contractions are not strong enough, these blood vessels will cause hemorrhaging. This is a natural cause, but one that can lead to serious injuries if a doctor does not catch it quickly. Whether the cause of excessive bleeding is obstetric or not, a prompt response can save the mother’s life as well as the baby.

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Bleeding can also be likely in situations in which tiny pieces of the placenta stay attached. Some individuals face a higher risk of excessive hemorrhage than others, and it is the responsibility of the doctors and other medical providers on site to ensure that any woman who faces an increased risk of PPH is being monitored closely. The strongest chance of avoiding problems with PPH occurs when physicians understand these risk factors and monitor patients closely to keep the issues from escalating. The following factors can increase the chances for PPH:

  • Prolonged labor
  • Multiple previous births
  • Placenta previa
  • Placental abruption
  • Preeclampsia
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • General anesthesia
  • Medications used to induce labor
  • Vacuum assisted delivery or use of forceps

There are other non-natural causes for PPH including:

  • A tear in a uterine blood vessel
  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Bleeding into a concealed tissue area developing a hematoma
  • Vaginal tissue or cervix tears

A uterine rupture can be life threatening for the mother, but any of these conditions require insight from a doctor regarding current and future care.

If you have lost a loved one as a result of a doctor's inability to screen for these issues or respond appropriately as they developed, consulting with our maternal death attorneys may be the most important thing you do to help the family recover.