Back to Journals » Risk Management and Healthcare Policy » Volume 10

Management of obstetric postpartum hemorrhage: a national service evaluation of current practice in the UK

Authors Al Wattar BH, Tamblyn JA, Parry-Smith W, Prior M, Van Der Nelson H

Received 7 September 2016

Accepted for publication 26 October 2016

Published 17 January 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 1—6


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Frank Papatheofanis

Bassel H Al Wattar,1,* Jennifer A Tamblyn,2,* William Parry-Smith,2,* Mathew Prior,3,* Helen Van Der Nelson4,*

On behalf of UK Audit and Research trainee Collaborative in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (UKARCOG)

1Women’s Health Research Unit, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary University London, London, UK; 2Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR), University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; 3Division of Child Health, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK; 4Academic Centre for Women’s Health, North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol, UK


Background: Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) continues to be one of the major causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in obstetrics. Variations in practice often lead to adverse maternity outcomes following PPH. Our objective was to assess the current practice in managing PPH in the UK.
Methods: We performed a national multicenter prospective service evaluation study over one calendar month and compared the current performance to national standards for managing PPH. We used a standardized data collection tool and collected data on patients’ demographics, incidence of PPH, estimated blood loss (EBL), prophylactic and treatment measures, onset of labor, and mode of delivery.
Results: We collected data from 98 obstetric units, including 3663 cases of primary PPH. Fifty percent of cases were minor PPH (EBL 500–1000 mL, n=1900/3613, 52.6%) and the remaining were moderate PPH (EBL >1000 to <2000 mL, n=1424/3613, 39.4%) and severe PPH (EBL >2000 mL, n=289/3613, 8%). The majority of women received active management of the third stage of labor (3504/3613, 97%) most commonly with Syntometrine intramuscular (1479/3613, 40.9%). More than half required one additional uterotonic agent (2364/3613, 65.4%) most commonly with Syntocinon intravenous infusion (1155/2364, 48.8%). There was a poor involvement of consultant obstetricians and anesthetists in managing PPH cases, which was more prevalent when managing major PPH (p=0.0001).
Conclusion: There are still variations in managing PPH in the UK against national guidelines. More senior doctor involvement and regular service evaluation are needed to improve maternal outcomes following PPH.

Keywords: pregnancy, obstetric hemorrhage, postpartum, service evaluation, collaborative, guideline, national

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]