Obstetric Hemorrhage

Mary Berg
January 2006
Laboratory Medicine;Jan2006, Vol. 37 Issue 1, p45
Academic Journal
Episodes of vaginal bleeding can happen throughout pregnancy. When a pregnant woman presents with vaginal bleeding, the obstetrician or emergency room physician needs to consider both the patient's medical history and physical examination findings in order to make a diagnosis. In many situations, the only laboratory test that is helpful is the complete blood count (CBC, to determine the severity of bleeding). Early in pregnancy, serum or urine qualitative or serum quantitative beta human chorionic gonadotropin (bHCG) helps in confirming pregnancy and/or determining the gestational age. Later in pregnancy, testing for fetal lung maturity might also be helpful. The cause of bleeding might be clinically insignificant and self-limited or life-threatening to either the mother or the fetus, or both. In order for laboratory professionals to better understand the management of obstetric hemorrhage, relevant vocabulary terms and 4 cases are presented.


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