Laboring Under Pressure Episode 2: Postpartum Hemorrhage with Dr. Kiersten Williams - The Emergency Medical Minute

Laboring Under Pressure Episode 2: Postpartum Hemorrhage with Dr. Kiersten Williams

Contributor: Kiersten Williams MD, Travis Barlock MD, Jeffrey Olson MS2


In this episode, Dr. Travis Barlock and Jeffrey Olson meet in the studio to discuss a clip from Dr. Williams’ talk at the “Laboring Under Pressure, Managing Obstetric Emergencies in a Global Setting” event from May 2023. This event was hosted at the University of Denver and was organized with the help of Joe Parker as a fundraiser for the organization Health Outreach Latin America (HOLA).

Dr. Kiersten Williams completed her OBGYN residency at Bay State Medical Center and practices as an Obstetric Hospitalist at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver, Colorado.

During her talk, Dr. Williams walks the audience through the common causes and treatments for post-partum hemorrhage (PPH).

Some important take-away points from this talk are:

  • The most common causes of PPH can be remembered by the 4 T’s. Tone (atony), Trauma, Tissue (retained placenta), and Thrombin (coagulopathies).

  • AV malformations of the uterus are probably underdiagnosed.

  • Quantitative blood loss is much more accurate than estimated blood loss (EBL).

  • The ideal fibrinogen for an obstetric patient about to deliver is above 400 mg/dl – under 200 is certain to cause bleeding.

  • Do not deliver oxytocin via IV push dose, it can cause significant hypotension.

  • Tranexamic Acid is available in both IV and PO and can be administered in the field. The dose is 1 gram and can be run over 10 minutes if administered via IV. It is best if used within 3 hours of delivery.

  • When performing a uterine massage, place one hand inside the vagina and one hand on the lower abdomen. Then rub the lower abdomen like mad.

  • A new option for treating PPH is called the JADA System which is slimmer than a Bakri¬† Balloon and uses vacuum suction to help the uterus clamp down.*

  • Another option for a small uterus is to insert a 60 cc Foley catheter.

  • In an operating room, a B-Lynch suture can be put in place, uterine artery ligation can be performed, and as a last resort, a hysterectomy can be done.

*EMM is not sponsored by JADA system or the Bakri balloon.


  1. Andrikopoulou M, D’Alton ME. Postpartum hemorrhage: early identification challenges. Semin Perinatol. 2019 Feb;43(1):11-17. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2018.11.003. Epub 2018 Nov 14. PMID: 30503400.

  2. Committee on Practice Bulletins-Obstetrics. Practice Bulletin No. 183: Postpartum Hemorrhage. Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Oct;130(4):e168-e186. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002351. PMID: 28937571.

  3. Federspiel JJ, Eke AC, Eppes CS. Postpartum hemorrhage protocols and benchmarks: improving care through standardization. Am J Obstet Gynecol MFM. 2023 Feb;5(2S):100740. doi: 10.1016/j.ajogmf.2022.100740. Epub 2022 Sep 2. PMID: 36058518; PMCID: PMC9941009.

  4. Health Outreach for Latin America Foundation – HOLA Foundation. (n.d.).

  5. Kumaraswami S, Butwick A. Latest advances in postpartum hemorrhage management. Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol. 2022 May;36(1):123-134. doi: 10.1016/j.bpa.2022.02.004. Epub 2022 Feb 24. PMID: 35659949.

  6. Pacheco LD, Saade GR, Hankins GDV. Medical management of postpartum hemorrhage: An update. Semin Perinatol. 2019 Feb;43(1):22-26. doi: 10.1053/j.semperi.2018.11.005. Epub 2018 Nov 14. PMID: 30503399.

Produced by Jeffrey Olson, MS2 | Edited by Jeffrey Olson and Jorge Chalit, OMSII


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