Objective: To compare (1) visual estimation of postpartum blood loss with estimation using a specifically designed blood collection drape and (2) the drape estimate with a measurement of blood loss by photospectrometry.
Methods: A randomized controlled study was performed with 123 women delivered at the District Hospital, Belgaum, India. The women were randomized to visual or drape estimation of blood loss. A subsample of 10 drape estimates was compared with photospectrometry results.
Results: The visual estimate of blood loss was 33% less than the drape estimate. The interclass correlation of the drape estimate to photospectrometry measurement was 0.92.
Conclusion: Drape estimation of blood loss is more accurate than visual estimation and may have particular utility in the developing world. Prompt detection of postpartum hemorrhage may reduce maternal morbidity and mortality in low-resource settings.