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OBJECTIVES: Most research about outcomes following postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) has focused on immediate outcomes. There are fewer studies investigating longer-term maternal morbidity following PPH, resulting in a significant knowledge gap. This review aimed to synthesize the evidence about the longer-term physical and psychological consequences of primary PPH for women and their partners from high income settings. METHODS: The review was registered with PROSPERO and five electronic databases were searched. Studies were independently screened against the eligibility criteria by two reviewers and data were extracted from both quantitative and qualitative studies that reported non-immediate health outcomes of primary PPH. RESULTS: Data were included from 24 studies, of which 16 were quantitative, five were qualitative and three used mixed-methods. The included studies were of mixed methodological quality. Of the nine studies reporting outcomes beyond five years after birth, only two quantitative studies and one qualitative study had a follow-up period longer than ten years. Seven studies reported outcomes or experiences for partners. The evidence indicated that women with PPH were more likely to have persistent physical and psychological health problems after birth compared with women who did not have a PPH. These problems, including PTSD symptoms and cardiovascular disease, may be severe and extend for many years after birth and were more pronounced after a severe PPH, as indicated by a blood transfusion or hysterectomy. There was limited evidence about outcomes for partners after PPH, but conflicting evidence of association between PTSD and PPH among partners who witnessed PPH. CONCLUSION: This review explored existing evidence about longer-term physical and psychological health outcomes among women who had a primary PPH in high income countries, and their partners. While the evidence about health outcomes beyond five years after PPH is limited, our findings indicate that women can experience long lasting negative impacts after primary PPH, including PTSD symptoms and cardiovascular disease, extending for many years after birth. PROSPERO REGISTRATION: PROSPERO registration number: CRD42020161144.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Humans, Female, Cardiovascular Diseases, Developed Countries, Postpartum Hemorrhage, Databases, Factual, Outcome Assessment, Health Care