What is Postpartum Hemorrhage?

Postpartum hemorrhage is excessive bleeding following the birth of a baby. This condition occurs in about 4% of women and is more likely with women who had cesarean births. Most postpartum hemorrhage occurs right after delivery but it can happen later as well.


After delivery of a baby, the uterus begins to contract in order to expel the placenta. Once the placenta is delivered, the contractions help to compress the bleeding vessels where the placenta was attached. If the uterus does not contract enough, these blood vessels continue to bleed freely and hemorrhage occurs.
Some women are at greater risk for postpartum hemorrhage including those with:

  • Placental abruption
  • Prolonged labor
  • Placenta previa
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • General anesthesia

Postpartum Hemorrhage Embolization

Postpartum hemorrhage embolization, also known as pelvic artery embolization (PAE), is a minimally invasive, life-saving treatment for women suffering from postpartum hemorrhage. During the procedure, an interventional radiologist makes a small incision in the skin near the groin. Using image guidance, a catheter is inserted and directed into the arteries supplying the uterus with blood. Small particles are then injected which will block the blood flow to the uterus and stop the bleeding. Studies have shown the treatment is safe, highly effective, eliminates the need for more invasive surgery and does not affect a woman’s fertility.




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