8.3 Late postpartum haemorrhage

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    Excessive vaginal bleeding from 24 hours to 6 weeks after delivery.

    8.3.1 Diagnosis

    A combination of the following signs: foul-smelling vaginal bleeding, fever, a uterus that is soft and larger than expected, general deterioration, anaemia.

    8.3.2 Causes

    • Retained placenta or blood clots with secondary infection (endometritis).
    • Rarely, persistent trophoblastic disease or choriocarcinoma.

    8.3.3 Management

    • Admit to inpatient department.
    • Administer immediately an antibiotherapy:

    amoxicillin/clavulanic acid IV (dose expressed in amoxicillin): 1 g every 8 hours + gentamicin IM: 5 mg/kg once daily
    ampicillin IV: 2 g every 8 hours + metronidazole IV: 500 mg every 8 hours + gentamicin IM: 5 mg/kg once daily


    Continue until the fever disappears (at least for 48 hours), then change to:
    amoxicillin/clavulanic acid PO (dose expressed in amoxicillin) to complete 5 days of treatment
    Ratio 8:1: 3000 mg daily (2 tablets of 500/62.5 mg 3 times daily)
    Ratio 7:1: 2625 mg daily (1 tablet of 875/125 mg 3 times daily)
    amoxicillin PO: 1 g 3 times daily + metronidazole PO: 500 mg 3 times daily, to complete 5 days of treatment


    • Manually explore the uterus when cervical dilation permits, otherwise perform digital curettage (Chapter 9, Section 9.4) or instrumental curettage with the widest curette available (Chapter 9, Section 9.6) and administer a uterotonic agent (oxytocin IM or slow IV: 5 to 10 UI, or, if not available, methylergometrine IM: 0.2 mg or misoprostol sublingually: 800 micrograms).