The association of maternal race and ethnicity and the risk of postpartum hemorrhage

Anesth Analg. 2012 Nov;115(5):1127-36. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182691e62. Epub 2012 Aug 10.


Background: There are profound racial and ethnic disparities in obstetric outcomes in the United States, but little is known about disparities in risk of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). We explored the association of race and ethnicity on the risk of PPH due to uterine atony with sequential adjustment for possible mediating factors.

Methods: This analysis was based on the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, from between 2005 and 2008. The frequencies of atonic PPH and atonic PPH resulting in transfusion or hysterectomy were estimated. We developed multivariable logistic regression models to estimate the odds of these outcomes in maternal racial/ethnic groups by sequentially adding potential mediators.

Results: Hispanic ethnicity and Asian/Pacific Islander race were associated with a statistically significant increased odds of atonic PPH in comparison with Caucasians, despite adjustment for potential mediators (adjusted odds ratio [OR] for Hispanics: 1.21, 99% confidence interval [1.18, 1.25]; for Asians/Pacific Islanders: 1.31 [1.25, 1.38], with Caucasians as reference). Similar results were observed for these racial/ethnic groups for atonic PPH resulting in transfusion or hysterectomy.

Conclusion: Hispanic ethnicity and Asian/Pacific Islander race are significant risk factors for atonic PPH independent of measured potential mediators; biological differences may play a role.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnicity / ethnology
  • Ethnicity / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / ethnology*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / genetics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Racial Groups / ethnology
  • Racial Groups / genetics
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult