Incidence, trends and severity of primary postpartum haemorrhage in Australia: A population-based study using Victorian Perinatal Data Collection data for 764 244 births

Margaret Flood, Susan J. Mcdonald, Wendy Pollock, Fiona Cullinane, Mary Ann Davey

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Background: Increasing incidence and severity of postpartum haemorrhage, together with postpartum haemorrhage-associated morbidities, have been reported in many high-resource countries. In-depth analysis of such factors in Victorian births since 2002 was lacking. Aims: Our aim was to determine the incidence and trends for primary postpartum haemorrhage (World Health Organization and International Classification of Diseases 10th revision, Australian Modification definitions) for all confinements in Victoria, Australia, for the years 2003-2013 and the incidence and trends for severe postpartum haemorrhage (≥1500 mL) for 2009-2013. Materials and methods: In this population-based cross-sectional study de-identified data from the Victorian Perinatal Data Collection were analysed for confinements (excluding terminations) from 2003 to 2013 (n = 764 244). Perinatal information for all births ≥20 weeks (or of at least 400 g birthweight if gestation was unknown) were prospectively collected. Results: One in five women (21.8%) who gave birth between 2009 and 2013 experienced a primary postpartum haemorrhage and one in 71 women (1.4%) experienced a severe primary postpartum haemorrhage. The increasing trends in incidence of primary postpartum haemorrhage, severe primary postpartum haemorrhage, blood transfusion, admission to an intensive care or high dependency unit and peripartum hysterectomy were significant (P < 0.001). Women who had an unassisted vaginal birth had the lowest incidence of primary postpartum haemorrhage. The highest incidence was experienced by women who had an unplanned caesarean section birth. Women who had a forceps birth had the highest incidence of severe primary postpartum haemorrhage. Conclusions: The incidence of primary postpartum haemorrhage, severe primary postpartum haemorrhage and associated maternal morbidities have increased significantly over time in Victoria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)228-234
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Incidence
  • Maternal morbidity
  • Perinatal data collection
  • Postpartum haemorrhage
  • Severe postpartum haemorrhage

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