Clinical Practice Guideline # 88: Active management of the third stage of labour: Prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage


To review the clinical aspects of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) and provide guidelines to assist clinicians in the prevention and management of PPH. These guidelines are an update from the previous Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) clinical practice guideline on PPH, published in April 2000.
Medline, PubMed, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, ACP Journal Club, and BMJ Clinical Evidence were searched for relevant articles, with concentration on randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews, and clinical practice guidelines published between 1995 and 2007. Each article was screened for relevance and the full text acquired if determined to be relevant. Each full-text article was critically appraised with use of the Jadad Scale and the levels of evidence definitions of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.
The quality of evidence was rated with use of the criteria described by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.
Prevention of Postpartum Hemorrhage 1. Active management of the third stage of labour (AMTSL) reduces the risk of PPH and should be offered and recommended to all women. (I-A) 2. Oxytocin (10 IU), administered intramuscularly, is the preferred medication and route for the prevention of PPH in low-risk vaginal deliveries. Care providers should administer this medication after delivery of the anterior shoulder. (I-A) 3. Intravenous infusion of oxytocin (20 to 40 IU in 1000 mL, 150 mL per hour) is an acceptable alternative for AMTSL. (I-B) 4. An IV bolus of oxytocin, 5 to 10 IU (given over 1 to 2 minutes), can be used for PPH prevention after vaginal birth but is not recommended at this time with elective Caesarean section. (II-B) 5. Ergonovine can be used for prevention of PPH but may be considered second choice to oxytocin owing to the greater risk of maternal adverse effects and of the need for manual removal of a retained placenta. Ergonovine is contraindicated in patients with hypertension. (I-A) 6. Carbetocin, 100 microg given as an IV bolus over 1 minute, should be used instead of continuous oxytocin infusion in elective Caesarean section for the prevention of PPH and to decrease the need for therapeutic uterotonics. (I-B) 7. For women delivering vaginally with 1 risk factor for PPH, carbetocin 100 microg IM decreases the need for uterine massage to prevent PPH when compared with continuous infusion of oxytocin. (I-B) 8. Ergonovine, 0.2 mg IM, and misoprostol, 600 to 800 microg given by the oral, sublingual, or rectal route, may be offered as alternatives in vaginal deliveries when oxytocin is not available. (II-1B) 9. Whenever possible, delaying cord clamping by at least 60 seconds is preferred to clamping earlier in premature newborns (< 37 weeks' gestation) since there is less intraventricular hemorrhage and less need for transfusion in those with late clamping. (I-A) 10. For term newborns, the possible increased risk of neonatal jaundice requiring phototherapy must be weighed against the physiological benefit of greater hemoglobin and iron levels up to 6 months of age conferred by delayed cord clamping. (I-C) 11. There is no evidence that, in an uncomplicated delivery without bleeding, interventions to accelerate delivery of the placenta before the traditional 30 to 45 minutes will reduce the risk of PPH. (II-2C) 12. Placental cord drainage cannot be recommended as a routine practice since the evidence for a reduction in the duration of the third stage of labour is limited to women who did not receive oxytocin as part of the management of the third stage. There is no evidence that this intervention prevents PPH. (II-1C) 13. Intraumbilical cord injection of misoprostol (800 microg) or oxytocin (10 to 30 IU) can be considered as an alternative intervention before manual removal of the placenta. (II-2C) TREATMENT OF PPH: 14. For blood loss estimation, clinicians should use clinical markers (signs and symptoms) rather than a visual estimation. (III-B) 15. Management of ongoing PPH requires a multidisciplinary approach that involves maintaining hemodynamic stability while simultaneously identifying and treating the cause of blood loss. (III-C) 16. All obstetric units should have a regularly checked PPH emergency equipment tray containing appropriate equipment. (II-2B) 17. Evidence for the benefit of recombinant activated factor VII has been gathered from very few cases of massive PPH. Therefore this agent cannot be recommended as part of routine practice. (II-3L) 18. Uterine tamponade can be an efficient and effective intervention to temporarily control active PPH due to uterine atony that has not responded to medical therapy. (III-L) 19. Surgical techniques such as ligation of the internal iliac artery, compression sutures, and hysterectomy should be used for the management of intractable PPH unresponsive to medical therapy. (III-B) Recommendations were quantified using the evaluation of evidence guidelines developed by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care (Table 1).

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Available from: Louise Duperron, May 23, 2014
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    • "Active management of the third stage of labor (AMTSL) is critical for reducing the risk of postpartum hemorrhage and has been shown to decrease postpartum hemorrhage by as much as two-thirds [5] [6]. AMTSL consists of three interventions: administration of a uterotonic within one minute of birth, controlled cord traction during contractions to deliver the placenta, and uterine massage once the placenta has delivered. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To validate a new training module for skilled and semiskilled birth attendants authorized to provide care at birth—Helping Mothers Survive: Bleeding After Birth (HMS:BAB)—aimed at reducing postpartum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal mortality worldwide. BAB training involves single-day, facility-based training that emphasizes simulation of scenarios related to prevention, detection, and management of postpartum hemorrhage. Methods A total of 155 skilled and semiskilled birth attendants participated in training in India, Malawi, and Zanzibar, Tanzania. Knowledge and confidence were assessed before and after training. Skills and acceptability were assessed after training. Results Knowledge and confidence scores improved significantly from pre- to post-training among all cadres in all three countries. The proportion of providers with passing knowledge scores increased significantly from pre- to post-training among all cadres except for those already high at baseline. On three post-training skills tests the overall proportion of individuals with a passing score ranged from 83% to 89%. Conclusion BAB training in prevention and management of postpartum hemorrhage increased knowledge and confidence among skilled and semiskilled birth attendants. Further studies are needed to determine the impact of this training on skills retention and clinical outcomes following postpartum hemorrhage, after broader implementation of the training program. Synopsis This study provides evidence that a new training module supports knowledge and skills development in birth attendants for the prevention and management of postpartum hemorrhage.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics
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    • "Data on maternal outcomes will include maternal death, postpartum hemorrhage, perineal trauma and infection. Postpartum hemorrhage has varying definitions; we will use the number of cases with estimated blood loss greater than 1,000 ml [14]. When these data are not available, we will record blood loss as defined by the authors and make note of any variation in definitions of hemorrhage. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background There has been a renewed interest in the place of birth, including intended home birth, for low risk women. In the absence of adequately-sized randomised controlled trials, a recent Cochrane review recommended that a systematic review and meta-analysis, including observational studies, be undertaken to inform this topic. The objective of this review is to determine if women intending at the onset of labour to give birth at home are more or less likely to experience a foetal or neonatal loss compared to a cohort of women who are comparable to the home birth cohort on the absence of risk factors but who intend to give birth in a hospital setting. Methods We will search using Embase, MEDLINE, CINAHL, AMED and the Cochrane Library to find studies published since 1990 that compare foetal, neonatal and maternal outcomes for women who intended at the onset of labour to give birth at home to a comparison cohort of low risk women who intended at the onset of labour to give birth in hospital. We will obtain pooled estimates of effect using Review Manager. Because of the likelihood of differences in outcomes in settings where home birth is integrated into the health care system, we will stratify our results according to jurisdictions that have a health care system that integrates home birth and those where home birth is provided outside the usual health care system. Since parity is known to be associated with birth outcomes, only studies that take parity into account will be included in the meta-analyses. We will provide results by parity to the extent possible. Systematic Review Registration This protocol was registered with PROSPERO at (Registration number: CRD42013004046).
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Systematic Reviews
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    • "Yet this intervention has received limited attention [52]. Possible tension between delayed cord clamping and active management of the 3rd stage of labour with controlled cord traction has been debated, but the Cochrane review and also recent-evidence statements by obstetric societies support delayed cord clamping for several minutes in all uncomplicated births [53]. "
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    ABSTRACT: As part of a supplement entitled "Born Too Soon", this paper focuses on care of the preterm newborn. An estimated 15 million babies are born preterm, and the survival gap between those born in high and low income countries is widening, with one million deaths a year due to direct complications of preterm birth, and around one million more where preterm birth is a risk factor, especially amongst those who are also growth restricted. Most premature babies (>80%) are between 32 and 37 weeks of gestation, and many die needlessly for lack of simple care. We outline a series of packages of care that build on essential care for every newborn comprising support for immediate and exclusive breastfeeding, thermal care, and hygienic cord and skin care. For babies who do not breathe at birth, rapid neonatal resuscitation is crucial. Extra care for small babies, including Kangaroo Mother Care, and feeding support, can halve mortality in babies weighing <2000 g. Case management of newborns with signs of infection, safe oxygen management and supportive care for those with respiratory complications, and care for those with significant jaundice are all critical, and are especially dependent on competent nursing care. Neonatal intensive care units in high income settings are de-intensifying care, for example increasing use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and this makes comprehensive preterm care more transferable. For health systems in low and middle income settings with increasing facility births, district hospitals are the key frontier for improving obstetric and neonatal care, and some large scale programmes now include specific newborn care strategies. However there are still around 50 million births outside facilities, hence home visits for mothers and newborns, as well as women's groups are crucial for reaching these families, often the poorest. A fundamental challenge is improving programmatic tracking data for coverage and quality, and measuring disability-free survival. The power of parent's voices has been important in high-income countries in bringing attention to preterm newborns, but is still missing from the most affected countries. Declaration This article is part of a supplement jointly funded by Save the Children's Saving Newborn Lives programme through a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and March of Dimes Foundation and published in collaboration with the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and the World Health Organization (WHO). The original article was published in PDF format in the WHO Report "Born Too Soon: the global action report on preterm birth" (ISBN 978 92 4 150343 30), which involved collaboration from more than 50 organizations. The article has been reformatted for journal publication and has undergone peer review according to Reproductive Health's standard process for supplements and may feature some variations in content when compared to the original report. This co-publication makes the article available to the community in a full-text format.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Reproductive Health
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