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What Is the Treatment for Uterine Atony?

An IV may be used to treat uterine atony by providing fluids and medication quickly.
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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2014
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A woman who has just delivered a baby may need to be treated for uterine atony if she starts to bleed. Before a baby has been delivered, women who are at risk from this disorder, such as those giving birth to a large infant or more than one infant, may have an intravenous line inserted so that medication or fluids can be administered quickly if needed. If the uterus does lose the ability to contract on its own, medications may be administered that will cause powerful contractions. The treatment for uterine atony may also include massage, medications, blood transfusions and surgery.

Doctors aren't sure exactly why a woman's uterus can lose muscle tone after an infant has been delivered, but if this does occur, it can endanger the life of the mother. Certain women, such as those who deliver more than one infant or those above a certain age, may be at greater risk for developing uterine atony, and the woman's medical team may have treatments standing by to deal with this condition quickly if it arises. One of the most basic treatments for uterine atony is the administration of massage to the uterus. This can stimulate the muscles and cause the organ to begin contracting on its own again.

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If the uterus does not respond to massage, drugs that cause powerful contractions may be administered. Though the baby has already been delivered at the time doctors diagnose uterine atony, the uterus needs to remain tight in order to prevent blood loss that could lead to the death of the mother. Forcing the uterus to contract can, in some cases, stop blood loss and correct the condition.

A woman who continues to bleed from the uterus may require emergency medical treatment. Blood transfusions can be given if there has been extensive blood loss from the uterus. The B-Lynch suture is commonly used to pull the walls of the uterus together into a contracted state. A thread is wrapped around the outside of the uterus and pulled tight, drawing the uterine walls closer together. If there is a tear in the uterus, doctors must sew it closed so that the woman does not continue to bleed. It may also be necessary to make an incision into the uterus through the abdominal wall because it can be difficult to locate the source of the bleeding through the birth canal, especially if it is severe.

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