Antenatal Care Module: 21. Late Pregnancy Bleeding

Study Session 21  Late Pregnancy Bleeding


Bleeding after 28 weeks of gestation is considered to be late pregnancy bleeding. You learned about early pregnancy bleeding before 28 weeks in Study Session 20. Late pregnancy bleeding is also referred to as antepartum haemorrhage (APH) by doctors and midwives. It is an important cause of maternal and fetal death and needs the attention of a highly skilled heathcare provider at the earliest time possible in order to save the life of the woman and her unborn baby.

‘Antepartum’ is Latin for ‘before birth’; ‘haemorrhage’ is pronounced ‘hemm-orr-edge’ and means severe loss of blood.

A woman is lying on a mat with her back and head supported by pillows. She is haemorrhaging and blood is covering the mat.

As the first contact provider for pregnant women in your community, you have to work with them on birth preparedness and making a complication readiness plan to address such eventualities as severe bleeding in pregnancy. You must provide obstetric first aid and then make sure that a woman with late pregnancy bleeding can reach a health facility where she can get urgent help. A District Hospital or Health Centre with the ability to perform obstetric operations can save her life.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 21