Management of pregnancy, labour and delivery in women with inherited bleeding disorders


Rezan A. Kadir, Haemophilia Centre and Haemostasis Unit, Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG, UK.
Tel.: 0207 724 0500 (ext. 33768); fax: 0207 472 6759;


Summary.  Pregnancy, labour and delivery present intrinsic haemostatic challenges to women with and carriers of bleeding disorders and their offspring. Deficiency of fibrinogen and factor XIII are associated with miscarriage, placental abruption and foetal loss. The risk of antenatal complications including antepartum haemorrhage is unknown in women with other bleeding disorders. There is a significant risk of postpartum haemorrhage (primary and secondary) in women with all types of bleeding disorders. This can be serious and life threatening in those with severe defects such as Bernard Soulier syndrome and Glanzmann’s thrombasthenia. Three to four percent of infants with haemophilia experience cranial bleeding that occurs during labour and delivery. The safest method of delivery for affected babies remains controversial. However, the rate of planned Caesarean section is increasing among known carriers of haemophilia. If vaginal delivery is planned, prolonged labour and difficult delivery especially vacuum extraction are associated with the highest risk of cranial bleeding and should be avoided. The optimal management of pregnancy in women with inherited bleeding disorders requires a multidisciplinary approach and advanced individualized management plan taking into consideration obstetric and bleeding risk factors. Women with mild or moderate bleeding disorders can be managed at their local maternity unit in close collaboration with a tertiary centre. However, those with severe or rare disorders or carrying an affected infant should be managed in a tertiary centre with an onsite Haemophilia centre.