Epistaxis of pregnancy and association with postpartum hemorrhage

Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;114(6):1322-1325. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3181bea830.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of epistaxis among pregnant women and to investigate if epistaxis of pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

Methods: A cohort of 1,475 pregnant women presenting to labor and delivery at term were asked to complete a survey about epistaxis and other traditional risk factors for bleeding. Results were compared with those from a cohort of 275 nonpregnant women presenting for routine gynecologic care to estimate the effect of pregnancy on the prevalence of epistaxis. The association between epistaxis of pregnancy and risk of bleeding was estimated by comparing rates of postpartum hemorrhage between pregnant women with and without epistaxis.

Results: Final data analysis was performed on 1,470 pregnant women and 275 nonpregnant women. The prevalence of epistaxis was significantly increased in pregnant women compared with nonpregnant women (20.3% compared with 6.2%; P<.001). Women with epistaxis of pregnancy were at increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage compared with women without epistaxis (10.7% compared with 6.7%; P=.02). The increased risk of hemorrhage remained after controlling for cesarean delivery and after exclusion of women who reported epistaxis before pregnancy. Other traditional risk factors for bleeding such as gingival bleeding, O blood type, and easy bruising were not associated with increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage.

Conclusion: Epistaxis is a common problem during pregnancy that may be associated with an increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage. As in the nonpregnant population, eliciting a history of epistaxis may help to identify women at risk of disordered hemostasis.

Level of evidence: II.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epistaxis / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illinois / epidemiology
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies