Problem: The rate and severity of postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) are increasing, according to research reports and clinical anecdote, causing a significant health burden for Australian women giving birth. However, reporting a national Australian rate is not possible due to inconsistent reporting of PPH. Background: Clinician concerns about the incidence and severity of PPH are growing. Midwives contribute perinatal data on every birth, yet published population-based data on PPH seems to be limited. What PPH information is contributed? What data are publicly available? Do published data reflect the PPH concerns of clinicians? Aim: To examine routine public reporting on PPH across Australia. Methods: We systematically analysed routine, publicly reported data on PPH published in the most recent perinatal data for each state, territory and national report (up to and including October 2016). We extracted PPH data on definitions, type and method of data recorded, markers of severity, whether any analyses were done and whether any trends or concerns were noted. Findings: PPH data are collected by all Australian states and territories however, definitions, identification method and documentation of data items vary. Not all states and territories published PPH rates; those that did ranged from 3.3% to 26.5% and were accompanied by minimal reporting of severity and possible risk factors. Whilst there are plans to include PPH as a mandatory reporting item, the timeline is uncertain. Conclusions: Routinely published PPH data lack nationally consistent definitions and detail. All states and territories are urged to prioritise the adoption of nationally recommended PPH items.
- Maternal health
- Postpartum haemorrhage