Factors associated with acute postpartum hemorrhage in low-risk women delivering in rural India

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2008 Apr;101(1):94-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2007.08.025. Epub 2008 Mar 4.


Objective: Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH), a major cause of maternal mortality and morbidity in low-income countries, can occur unpredictably. This study examined the sociodemographic, clinical, and perinatal characteristics of low-risk women who experienced PPH.

Methods: This analysis was conducted using data on 1620 women from a randomized trial testing oral misoprostol for prevention of PPH in rural India.

Results: Of the women, 9.2% experienced PPH. No maternal or sociodemographic factors and few perinatal factors differed between women with PPH and those without, other than treatment with misoprostol. Having fewer than 4 prenatal visits and lack of iron supplementation increased the risk for PPH (P<0.001 and P=0.037, respectively). Several factors unknown until the second stage of labor (perineal tear and birth weight) were also associated (P=0.003).

Conclusions: Among women at low risk for PPH, there were few factors associated with further risk. Given that PPH can occur without warning, rural communities should consider ways to increase both primary prevention (iron supplementation, AMTSL) and secondary prevention of PPH (availability of obstetric first aid, availability of transport, and availability of emergency obstetric care).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Misoprostol / administration & dosage
  • Oxytocics / administration & dosage
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / drug therapy
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care*
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population


  • Oxytocics
  • Misoprostol