Maureen Ume, a gynaecologist with the National Hospital, Abuja, on Wednesday described Postpartum Haemorrhage (PPH) as the leading cause of maternal mortality in the country.
The World Health Organisation defines PPH as a blood loss of 500 ml or more within 24 hours after birth.
Ume told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the disorder was common among women that had been delivered of their babies not more than 24 hours.
“Postpartum haemorrhage is the commonest cause of obstetric haemorrhage.
“Obstetric haemorrhage is bleeding during pregnancy and the postpartum is the commonest and accounts for 25 per cent of maternal death especially in developing countries like Nigeria.
“Postpartum haemorrhage is divided into two; we have the primary and the secondary.
“The major one is the primary one, which by definition is the loss of 500 ml of blood or any blood loss that can compress the human cardiac state within 24 hours of delivery.
“Once the excessive blood loss is beyond 24 hours it is called secondary postpartum haemorrhage.
“If we can handle postpartum haemorrhage, our maternal mortality will reduce drastically.“
According to Ume, prolonged labour, an over-bloated abdomen, and the use of the drug Oxytocin for induction of labour were factors that could put expectant mothers at risk of experiencing postpartum haemorrhage.
“We are in a country whereby most of our women are not educated, their antenatal care is poor, and they can labour for days at home.
“And that labour for days means that they have been contracting for that length of time; so after delivery their uterus will be weak.
“Any woman you use Oxytocin for, after delivery, as an obstetrician, you also have to know the necessary things to do in order to prevent the risk of bleeding.“
Ume added that women with multiple gestations (conception) and women who had had five or more previous pregnancies were inclined to experience PPH.
She, therefore, advised couples to go for family planning as it could play a role in tackling postpartum haemorrhage.
She also said that expectant mothers could prevent postpartum haemorrhage if they sought proper antenatal attention at conception.
“Most of our women are dying because of inadequate antenatal care; during antenatal clinics, these women are supposed to be sorted out.
“So, we encourage our women to register for antenatal clinics early to avoid complications. Beginning antenatal clinic early will enable the obstetrician to sort out women who are at risk of postpartum haemorrhage,“ she said.
The gynaecologist also spoke of the need to ensure adequate supply of blood in the body as lives had been lost due to the scarcity of blood in the blood bank.
She also called on Nigerians to imbibe the habit of donating blood, saying that it would go a long to save the lives of expectant mothers after birth.
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