Around the world, there is a problem. A BIG problem. Mother’s are giving birth and dying because they are bleeding too much after delivery. And not just in third-world countries…bleeding too much after delivery, called a postpartum hemorrhage, is happening right here in the United States. Nurses and physicians and midwives are all doing a lot of things to try to help you bleed less after your delivery, but this isn’t something we’re going to fix by ourselves. So here is what YOU need to know and things YOU can do to help prevent postpartum hemorrhage. We all want you to have a safe delivery, and the healthier, more educated you are about the labor and delivery process, the better chances you have of not having major complications. I’m not trying to freak you out. But everyone needs to be aware. And p.s. — no one thinks this is something that will happen to them. And I don’t want it to be something that can happen to you.
First, you need to know that everyone will bleed after a vaginal or a cesarean delivery, and this is normal.
- After you deliver, your nurse will rub your stomach. She’s looking for your uterus, which is where your baby was at your entire pregnancy. Your uterus expanded to make room for your baby, and now that your baby is not there it’s kind of big and floppy. As your nurse, we want your uterus to feel nice and firm, like your fist.
- When your uterus is firm like this, you bleed less. If your uterus is floppy, you bleed more.
- Every 15 minutes for 2 hours after you deliver your baby, your nurse should be looking at your bleeding. She may rub on your stomach to assess how firm your uterus feels.
- If your uterus is firm, but you are bleeding too much, your nurse and your physician or midwife will look at other things that may be making you bleed. This may be from a tear somewhere in your vagina or on your cervix. There may be pieces of placenta that weren’t delivered. There are many other reasons why you may bleed.
- If you are breastfeeding, you may feel “contractions” even after you deliver. That’s because breastfeeding makes your uterus firm up, so one of the many benefits of breastfeeding is that it will help you to not bleed as much.
It is also your responsibility to watch your bleeding. If you are having large clots, you need to save the pads and show them to your nurse. If you are using a lot of pads, you need to tell your nurse. If you think you are bleeding too much, tell your nurse. Or your doctor or midwife. Or anyone that can help you!!
Here are a few other things you can do:
- Keep your bladder empty by using the bathroom often. When you have to pee and your bladder is full, the size of your bladder makes it hard for your uterus to get firm. And remember, after you deliver if your uterus is not firm, you will bleed more.
- Before you have your baby, you want to start off with a good amount of blood in your body. You can help yourself by taking your prenatal vitamins, taking iron as prescribed by your provider, and eating a lot of iron-rich foods. Almost all cereals have iron added to them. Oatmeal and Cream-of-Wheat also have iron added to them. Look at the label. Try to eat foods that have high amounts of iron in them so that you can help prepare your body for the birth of your baby.
Here are just a few reasons you may bleed too much after delivery:
- You have to be induced, which means your provider is trying to make you go into labor.
- If there is a medical reason that you need to be induced, then that’s what is best for you and your baby. But if you’re just tired of being pregnant, it can be dangerous to be induced. If your cervix is not dilated, or barely dilated, it means that we will have to give you a lot of medicine, and maybe more than one type of medicine, to get your body to go into labor. These drugs can make it easier for you to bleed after delivery.
- You are having more than one baby.
- The more babies that are in your uterus, the larger your uterus has to get to hold your babies. This can also make you bleed more.
- Being anemic, or not having a good supply of blood in your body.
- Not peeing often enough.
- Remember, if your bladder is full, it’s harder for your uterus to stay firm.
- Being overweight can make you bleed more.
- If you have a large baby, you may bleed more because the bigger your baby, the bigger your uterus has to expand to fit your baby.
- There are other reasons that you could bleed, such as a cut inside your vagina or near your cervix. Some blood disorders can make it easier for you to bleed.
Talk to your doctor about what you can do to make yourself as healthy as possible. The most important thing you can do is talk to your provider early in your pregnancy and try to stay as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.
Until my next delivery ❤