Nursing for Women’s Health: A Proactive Approach to Quantification of Blood Loss in the Perinatal Setting



To educate nurses and physicians on changing practice from visual estimation of blood loss to quantification of blood loss (QBL) and to replace estimation of blood loss with QBL for at least 85% of vaginal births during a 3-month period.


Quality improvement project.

Setting/Local Problem

A midwestern U.S. urban community hospital with 1,200 annual births, where postpartum blood loss was being measured by using visual estimation.


A convenience sample of 43 intrapartum nurses and 17 physicians.


A goal was set to use the QBL method for at least 85% of vaginal births for 3 consecutive months. Study participants were surveyed at baseline to assess their knowledge of the QBL method; they then received a 10-minute educational presentation by the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) on QBL. The CNS attended births on both 12-hour shifts to give support, evaluate correct use of the new drapes, and answer questions. Midway through the project, a brief survey was distributed to participants for their feedback. The CNS conducted a chart audit to determine the compliance rate for the QBL process.


Data analysis indicated an average 89% compliance rate with the QBL process for the time period studied.


Education on the QBL method increased nurses’ and physicians’ awareness of the importance of using this method as the new standard of care for assessment of postpartum blood loss. Accuracy of postpartum blood loss measurement is critical to help prevent maternal morbidity and mortality. Nurses play a key role in the development and implementation of practice changes to use QBL measurement.

Reference: Ladouceur, Madonna K.; Goldbort, Joanne. A Proactive Approach to Quantification of Blood Loss in the Perinatal Setting. Nursing for Women’s Health. 23.6; p471-477. (Dec 2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.nwh.2019.09.007

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