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What Are the Causes of Bleeding After a C-Section?

author image R. Y. Langham, Ph.D.
R. Y. Langham served as a senior writer for "The Herald" magazine from 1996-99. Langham holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fisk University, a Master of Science in marriage and family therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University and a Ph.D in family psychology from Capella University. Dr. R.Y. Langham published her first psychological thriller in September 2011. It can be purchased on, Barnes& and
What Are the Causes of Bleeding After a C-Section?
A woman smiling during a c-section. Photo Credit: SHSPhotography/iStock/Getty Images

It is natural for a woman to experience some bleeding following a C-section, but uncontrollable bleeding may occur when the major blood vessel is damaged during surgery, according to the website eMedTV. After delivery, some women experience C-section complications such as postpartum hemorrhage or severe bleeding. Other reasons why a woman may bleed following a C-section include placenta or uterine wall problems.

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Uterine Atony

Uterine atony can cause bleeding following a C-section. A woman experiences uterine atony when her uterus does not contract after the placenta is delivered following birth. The website Healthline states that uterine contractions prevent the area around the placenta from bleeding out by closing the blood vessels in the uterus once the placenta is expelled through the vagina. If the uterus does not contract after delivery, it will remain relaxed and open resulting in heavy bleeding.

Lacerations and Tears

Lacerations contribute to bleeding after a C-section, according to the website Heathline. During a C-section a physician makes an incision from a woman’s stomach or navel to her public hairline so that the baby can safety exit the mother’s womb. Sometimes the initial incision is not wide enough for the baby to exit the mother’s body, causing the tissue surrounding the incision to tear as the baby is lifted out of the mother. Additional tears can cause mild to severe bleeding following a C-section. A woman may also experience bleeding if the large arteries and veins near her uterus are accidentally cut during the C-section. In many cases, C-section tears and lacerations are unavoidable, but a qualified physician can repair the tears fairly quickly if they are recognized during or immediately following the procedure.

Placental Fragments

Placental fragments can cause bleeding following a C-section, according to the website YGOY. Some women may experience heavy bleeding after a C-section because fragments of the placenta remain in the uterus. Leftover placental fragments are more common in women who have had more than one C-section.

Placenta Accreta

A common cause of bleeding following a C-section is placenta accreta. The American Pregnancy Association states that placenta accreta occurs when the woman’s placenta embeds itself too deeply into the uterus and does not naturally separate from the uterine wall following a C-section. Women who have placenta accreta are at risk of severe bleeding or hemorrhaging as the physician manually detaches the placenta from the uterine wall. The American Pregnancy Association states that women who have multiple C-sections are more likely to develop the condition than women who have vaginal birth.

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