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Why did my relative die after giving birth to a child?

Q: Recently my 31 years old relative died two days after giving birth to a male child. The doctors stated amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) followed by disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) as the probable cause of death. Is AFE followed by DIC sudden, unpredictable and unpreventable without any treatment? Can we not notice this by any symptom?

A:Amniotic fluid embolism is potentially reversible with early recognition and aggressive management. It can neither be predicted nor prevented. It is a condition resulting from infusion of large amount of amniotic fluid (fluid around the baby) into maternal circulation mainly during delivery.

This condition leads to cardiac and respiratory arrest. More than half of the patients die within the first hour.

Most evidence indicates that amniotic fluid embolism occurs during labour in 70% of the women, after vaginal delivery in 11%, and during caesarean section delivery in 19%.

This condition can lead to coagulopathy (laboratory evidence of clotting problems or severe bleeding) with onset of during labour, caesarean section or within 30 minutes of delivery.

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