Prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage: 2022 FIGO recommendations

Published On 2022-03-27 23:30 GMT   |   Update On 2022-03-27 23:40 GMT

USA: A recent study in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics has released FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) recommendations on the management of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) 2022. The guideline is targeted to gynecologists, obstetricians, midwives, nurses, general practitioners, and other health personnel in charge of the care of pregnant women with PPH.


Postpartum hemorrhage is the leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality in most countries around the world. There is still a lack of implementation or adherence to the recommendations for the management of PPH when faced with this obstetric emergency despite multiple collaborative efforts at all levels. 

The document updates key concepts in the management of postpartum hemorrhage and give clear and precise tools to health personnel in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to perform evidence-based treatments, with the aim of reducing related maternal morbidity and mortality. 

FIGO recommendations for the prevention of postpartum hemorrhage

· The use of uterotonics for prevention of PPH during the third stage of labor is recommended for all births. Oxytocin (10 IU intravenously/intramuscularly [IV/IM]) is recommended for the prevention of PPH for vaginal delivery and cesarean section. In settings where oxytocin is used, attention should be paid to the oxytocin cold chain.j

· In settings where oxytocin is unavailable or its quality cannot be guaranteed, the use of other injectable uterotonics (if appropriate ergometrine/methylergometrine 200 μg IM/IV; hypertensive disorders can be safely excluded prior to its use) or oral misoprostol (400–600 µg orally) or carbetocin 100 µg IM/IV is recommended for the prevention of PPH.

· The combinations of ergometrine plus oxytocin or misoprostol plus oxytocin may be more effective uterotonic drug strategies for the prevention of PPH ≥500 ml compared with the current standard, oxytocin. This comes at the expense of a higher risk of adverse effects (vomiting and hypertension with ergometrine and fever with misoprostol).

· In settings where skilled birth attendants are not present to administer injectable uterotonics and oxytocin is unavailable, the administration of misoprostol (400–600 μg orally) by community healthcare workers and lay health workers is recommended for the prevention of PPH.

· In settings where skilled birth attendants are unavailable, controlled cord traction (CCT) is not recommended.

· Sustained uterine massage is not recommended as an intervention to prevent PPH in women who have received prophylactic oxytocin.

· Postpartum abdominal uterine tonus assessment for early identification of uterine atony is recommended for all women.

· Oxytocin (IV or IM) and CCT is the recommended method for the removal of the placenta for the prevention of PPH in cesarean delivery.

FIGO recommendations for the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage

  • Intravenous oxytocin alone is the recommended first-line uterotonic drug for the treatment of PPH.
  • If intravenous oxytocin is unavailable, or if the bleeding does not respond to oxytocin, the use of intramuscular ergometrine, oxytocin–ergometrine fixed dose, or a prostaglandin drug (including sublingual misoprostol, 800 μg) is recommended.
  • There is no evidence about the safety and efficacy of an additional 800-μg dose of misoprostol for treatment of PPH when given to women who have already received 600 μg of prophylactic misoprostol orally.
  • The use of isotonic crystalloids is recommended in preference to the use of colloids for the initial intravenous fluid resuscitation of women with PPH.
  • Early use of intravenous tranexamic acid as soon as PPH is diagnosed but within 3 h of birth in addition to standard care is recommended for women with clinically diagnosed PPH following vaginal birth or cesarean delivery.
  • Administration of 1 g (100 mg/ml) tranexamic acid intravenously at 1 ml/min (i.e. administered over 10 min), with a second dose of 1 g intravenously if bleeding continues after 30 min, or if bleeding restarts within 24 h of completing the first dose. Reducing maternal deaths due to bleeding through scaling up of tranexamic acid for PPH treatment could have a positive impact on health equity and improve outcomes among disadvantaged women, especially in LMICs.
  • Uterine massage is recommended for the treatment of PPH.
  • The use of bimanual uterine compression or external aortic compression for the treatment of PPH due to uterine atony after vaginal birth is recommended as a temporizing measure until appropriate care is available.
  • If women do not respond to treatment using uterotonics, or if uterotonics are unavailable, the use of uterine balloon tamponade is recommended as an effective non-surgical technique that can potentially improve survival in women with PPH due to uterine atony after ruling out retained products of conception or uterine rupture as a contributing factor.
  • Use of the nonpneumatic antishock garment is recommended as a temporizing measure until appropriate care is available.
  • The use of uterine packing is not recommended for the treatment of PPH due to uterine atony after vaginal birth.
  • Uterine artery embolization can be another conservative management measure for PPH if technical conditions and skilled human resources are available for its use.
  • If bleeding does not stop despite treatment using uterotonics and other available conservative interventions (e.g. uterine massage, balloon tamponade), the use of surgical interventions is recommended. Surgical interventions include the use of compression suture techniques, uterine and hypogastric artery ligation, and hysterectomy.
  • The priority is to stop the bleeding before the patient develops coagulation problems and organ damage from under-perfusion. Conservative approaches should be tried first, rapidly moving to more invasive procedures if these do not work.


"FIGO recommendations on the management of postpartum hemorrhage 2022," was published in the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics. 


KEYWORDS: International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, postpartum hemorrhage, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, uterotonics, oxytocin, misoprostol, FIGO, prevention, treatment, tranexamic acid

Article Source : International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics

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