Long-Term Consequences of Excessive Bleeding in Delivery


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While every new birth involves bleeding, a small percentage of deliveries escalate to what’s considered “excessive bleeding” — a phrase that sounds vague to most people but which the medical community quantifies as more than 500 cubic centimeters (cc) of blood in vaginal delivery and more than 1,000 cc for a Caesarean section. When a woman loses this amount of blood in the process of her labor and delivery, there can be serious, even long-lasting, consequences, both for her and for her baby.

What Causes Excessive Bleeding During And Following Delivery?

When a woman enters labor, she has uterine contractions that help push the baby and the placenta out. After that, contractions continue to help compress the bleeding vessels where the placenta had been attached. If those contractions aren't strong enough, the vessels will bleed freely, and a hemorrhage will occur.

Various conditions can increase a new mother's chances of excessive bleeding, including:

  • Placental previa – This occurs when the placenta is near or covers the cervix and must be delivered before the baby.
  • Placental abruption – If the placenta detaches before the baby is delivered, it can lead to excessive bleeding.
  • Multiple pregnancy – If the mother has more than one baby and there is more than one placenta, it can cause complications.
  •  Overdistended uterus – This is when the uterus is enlarged. It could be because the baby is too big (over 8.8 lbs.) or when there is too much amniotic fluid.
  • High blood pressure, preeclampsia, or gestational hypertension
  • Infection
  • Prolonged labor
  • Obesity
  • General anesthesia
  • Vacuum-assisted or forceps delivery
  • The mother is taking labor-inducing medications
  • The mother is taking medications to prevent preterm labor and stop contractions

Women are also at risk for excessive postpartum bleeding when:

  • There is a tear in a uterine blood vessel.
  • There is a vaginal tissue of cervical tear.
  • The placenta is attached to the inside of the uterus abnormally (placenta accreta).
  • Placental tissues invade the uterine muscles (placenta increta) or go all the way in, causing a rupture (placenta percreta).
  • They suffer from certain blood clotting disorders.
  • A doctor or other medical professional is negligent or makes a mistake.

What Complications Can Happen With Excessive Bleeding During Delivery?

So what exactly happens when a mother bleeds too much during delivery? Whether she loses too much blood because of cervical tearing, improper surgical technique, or uterine inversion, how is her health affected over time? How is her baby’s? To help answer those questions, here’s a look at a few of the possible long-term consequences of excessive bleeding in delivery.

  • Placental Abruption: For the baby, excessive bleeding in delivery can lead to placental abruption, a situation where the placenta separates from the uterine wall prematurely. If this happens while the baby is still in utero, and if enough of the placenta separates before a physician intervenes, the baby can’t get the proper nutrition and/or oxygen necessary to stay stable. This can lead to lifelong problems for the baby or, in the worst cases, even death.
  • Hysterectomy: For the mother, losing excessive blood during pregnancy could mean an immediate need for blood transfusions, or it could mean needing surgical intervention and a possible hysterectomy. While blood transfusions can be fairly insignificant in terms of health repercussions, a hysterectomy means the woman will never be able to have children again.
  • Death: In a worst-case scenario for the mother, the loss of too much blood during delivery could ultimately lead to her death. If the mother doesn’t receive proper blood transfusions or doesn’t receive them quickly enough as she needs them, her heart could become dysfunctional, and she could die.

The bottom line with delivery-related bleeding is that too much bleeding is serious. This is why physicians and health professionals must understand the ramifications of excessive blood loss and take proper precautions to protect both mothers and babies.

What Should You Do If Your Wife Died From Excessive Bleeding During Delivery In Pennsylvania?

You may be entitled to monetary compensation if your wife had excessive bleeding due to a doctor's error or medical malpractice when your child was born. We know there is nothing that can mitigate your grief, but we can help you recover financially. Childbirth can be expensive on its own. You may have funeral expenses and medical bills if you've lost your spouse. Let our experienced medical malpractice attorneys in Philadelphia help you help your family.

At Ross Feller Casey, we have a national reputation for helping families during this difficult time. We have an unmatched record of winning all kinds of medical malpractice cases, including multimillion-dollar recoveries in lawsuits involving postpartum hemorrhage deaths.

With our team of Ivy League-trained doctors and doctor-lawyers on staff, we can advise you and your family throughout the legal process. Ross Feller Casey works all of our cases on a contingency basis. That means that you will not pay a thing until a recovery is made in your case. Call today for a free consultation.

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