Predicting Postpartum Hemorrhage After Low-Risk Vaginal Birth by Labor Characteristics and Oxytocin Administration

Elise N. Erickson, Nicole S. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the odds of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in low-risk women who gave birth vaginally and were exposed to different durations and dosages of oxytocin across a range of labor durations during spontaneous or induced labor. Design: A retrospective cross-sectional analysis of data from the Consortium for Safe Labor. Setting: Data were gathered from 12 clinical institutions across the United States from 2002 to 2008. Participants: After exclusion of high-risk conditions associated with PPH, we examined data from 27,072 women who gave birth vaginally. Methods: PPH was defined as estimated blood loss of greater than 500 ml at the time of birth and/or a diagnostic code for PPH before hospital discharge. We included covariates were if they were associated with oxytocin use and PPH and did not mediate oxytocin use. We used regression models to determine the likelihood of PPH overall and within the induced and spontaneous labor groups separately. We used subgroup analyses within specific durations of labor to clarify the findings. Results: The overall rate of PPH was 3.9%. Women with induced labor experienced PPH more frequently than women who labored spontaneously. Labor augmentation was associated with greater adjusted odds for PPH when oxytocin was infused for more than 4 hours. Longer duration of spontaneous labor and the second stage of labor did not change this association. Oxytocin use during labor induction increased the odds for PPH when administered for more than 7 hours. The odds further increased when induction lasted longer than 12 hours and/or the second stage of labor was longer than 3 hours. Conclusion: Strategies for judicious oxytocin administration may help mitigate PPH in low-risk women having vaginal birth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-563
Number of pages15
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • induced labor
  • oxytocin
  • postpartum hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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