A hemorrhage is severe bleeding that can occur internally or externally and can lead to severe anemia. A woman could become seriously ill or even die without a blood transfusion to replace the blood she’s lost.
Hemorrhaging during pregnancy or after delivery is an emergency and requires medical attention.
Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
A miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (where the fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus) can cause hemorrhaging.
An antepartum hemorrhage is a serious complication of pregnancy that occurs after 20-24 weeks gestation (third trimester). Common causes are labor, miscarriage, placenta previa or placenta abruption.
It is associated with significant maternal and fetal mortality and surgery is usually emergent. Blood transfusions can help replace the blood lost due to the hemorrhage and during the surgery for treatment.
Significant bleeding during birth, or immediately after, is called a postpartum hemorrhage and is considered an emergency that may require a blood transfusion and surgery.
Postpartum hemorrhaging can be caused by the “Four Ts”:
- Tone: uterine atony is the inability of the uterus to contract and is the most common cause of a postpartum hemorrhage.
- Trauma: even in a closely monitored delivery, trauma can occur and cause bleeding.
- Tissue: retention of tissue from the placenta or fetus, or placental abnormalities, can lead to bleeding.
- Thrombin: a clotting problem that causes a woman to not be able to stop bleeding during a delivery
“Many maternal deaths can be saved by building up hemoglobin,” according to Blood transfusion practices among delivery cases: A retrospective study of two years by S.K. Kathpalia, Brig, Jaya Chawla, A.K. Harith, Lt Col, Priyanka Gupta, and Anupam Anveshid. “And timely blood transfusion can reduce maternal mortality rates.”
Khayla needed a blood transfusion while pregnant