Pelvic embolization for intractable postpartum hemorrhage

Hysterectomy is rarely performed for saving life, however it is often a treatment option when it is not possible to stop bleeding following the birth of a child, however this is a radical treatment and will prevent women from having children in the future.

In this study 28 consecutive patients who underwent pelvic embolisation for post-partum haemorrhage between the years 1977 and 2002 were included in the study. The researchers have found that pelvic arterial embolisation is a safe and effective procedure and offers patients a fertility-preserving alternative to hysterectomy for treatment of intractable post-partum haemorrhage.

(Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Nov;102(5 Pt 1):904-10)


  1. Hi there – I had a hysterectomy nearly two years ago after the birth of my daughter. The birth was fine, but my placenta was not and after much bleeding and several operations to try and stop the bleeding I had a hysterectomy in order to live. I am very lucky as my daughter is fine and healthy and I have another older daughter too. I have always approached it with the idea that I am just very glad to be alive, but a hysterectomy is such a huge operation for any woman and there are very few who undergo such surgery alongside birth. I was 36 and had a baby and a two year old to look after on coming out of hospital. My husband was great but he did have to go back to work. I couldn’t sleep for ages after as I kept thinking about haemorrhaging again and was scared to loose consciousness.
    I realised that talking about it all was probably very important and luckily I have a great group of friends who all heard the story endlessly. Talking definitely helps. I think it makes it much easier to deal with.
    The effects on your hormones are very confusing too and I decided to start HRT after a year. They help but I have found that the most difficult aspect as the moods are difficult to deal with.

  2. It’s hard to know what to say to someone that goes through this and my heart goes out to you, as you say you are glad to be alive because of your son. There is no need to feel guilty there wasn’t anything you could do to prevent the problems that occurred.

  3. hi there this happend 2 me in june this year my waters broke at 22wks and i had 2 deliver my little girl millie who sadly isnt here my placenta did not come away and i had 2 go 2 theatre i came around for a few seconds and they wer putting tubes up my nose and down my throat and i couldnt get my eyes opend it was horrendous and i heard them saying id had a hysterectomy and then i was away again i came around in icu and was so greatful 2 be alive as i have a 10yr old boy and i didnt really think about anything else i think the medication jst numbed me untill 2 days later when everything came cashing down the reality of what has happend 2 me i cant cope with it all my son is from a previous partner and the guilt that i feel eveyday because my partner does not have any children is almost 2 much 2 bear i cannot except that i cant have anymore children and i feel like i have no1 who understands

  4. Hi Kerrie,
    I read your post with sadness. I too had a partial hysterectomy performed following placenta acrreta last September. I was ventilated in ITU and going into theatre was absolutely terrified that either my baby or I would not make it. Thankfully my beautiful daughter although premature was ok. However, I feel there are few people to talk to or relate to as most women I know who’ve had hysterectomies are either much older (I’m 37) or have made the choice themselves….we didn’t. Thankfully, last week I met a wonderful lady who specialises in trauma at birth. She has referred me to a clinical pyschologist/consultant and recommended different medication to the anti depressants I’m on specifically for post traumatic stress. I’m hoping this will help. I feel great sadness and loss and feel that very few people understand that.
    Take care

  5. To answer your questions in reverse Kerrie, breast cancer risk increases with HRT, HOWEVER, it doesn’t increase by the same amount in women who have had a hysterectomy. As for the menopause, even if you kept your ovaries, you had a 50% chance of them failing within 5 years of surgery anyway, and the symptoms could certainly be menopausal. It would be worth asking your GP for a blood test to check.

  6. I had a hysterectomy 5 years ago due to having placenta accreta during pregnancy. I was 27 years old. The placenta had attached itself to the lining of my uterus and my bladder so I was told I would have to have a hysterectomy and bladder surgery to save my life. I spent over a month recovering in hospital. I had to have a large amount of blood transfused also as I lost a lot of blood. Whilst I am obviously grateful and happy to be alive, I have not come to terms with having a hysterectomy. The whole event was extremely traumatic as I was told I may not survive the birth and could not be awake for it. Only my partner and one friend know about it as I did not want people to look at me differently.
    How do I know if I need HRT. I have had a few night sweats and mood swings. I also have been quite tearful recently. I feel I should be ok about it after 5 years but I’m not really. I have read about a saliva test to check hormone levels. Do I have to do this at my doctors? One more thing, is the risk of breast cancer high if you are on HRT?
    Thank you for your time

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