Postpartum hemorrhage

Last revised by Joshua Yap on 6 May 2023

Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) refers to uterine bleeding after delivery and remains one of the major worldwide causes of maternal mortality.


Risk factors

A useful mnemonic to remember the risk factors of postpartum hemorrhage is PARTUM.



Postpartum hemorrhage can be broadly classified as primary or secondary.

Primary postpartum hemorrhage

This is the most common form of major obstetric hemorrhage. Primary postpartum hemorrhage is traditionally defined as the loss of ≥500 mL of blood from the birth canal within 24 hours of birth.

It can be subdivided into:

  • minor: 500-1000 mL

  • major: >1000 mL

    • moderate: 1000-2000 mL

    • severe: >2000 mL

Secondary postpartum hemorrhage

Secondary postpartum hemorrhage is defined as abnormal or excessive per vaginal bleeding between 24 hours and 12 weeks postnatally.


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