Hesperian Health Guides

Hesperian Health Guides

Pregnancy and Birth: Medicines

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HealthWiki > New Where There Is No Doctor > Pregnancy and Birth > Medicines for Severe Bleeding After Birth


Medicines for Severe Bleeding After Birth

Oxytocin


Oxytocin prevents or controls heavy bleeding after birth. It can also be used to hasten the delivery of a placenta that is not coming out. Used for these purposes, this drug is safe and works very well.

     In a hospital, oxytocin is sometimes used to speed up labor, but should never be used at home for this purpose because without careful medical monitoring it can make the uterus contract so hard it can rip open.

How to use
To treat or prevent heavy bleeding after birth
Inject 10 units into the side of the thigh muscle.

Misoprostol


Misoprostol prevents or controls heavy bleeding after childbirth.

     In a hospital, misoprostol is sometimes used in very small doses to speed up labor, but it should not be used at home for this purpose because without careful medical monitoring it can make the uterus contract so hard it can rip open.

     It is sometimes used to end a pregnancy in the first few months, or to control bleeding from an abortion or miscarriage.

Side effects

Nausea, stomach ache, or diarrhea.

Important

Check the woman’s temperature after giving this medicine as it sometimes causes high fever. If this happens, stop giving the misoprostol and treat the fever right away with paracetamol.

     Misoprostol should usually be avoided in women who have previously had cesarean births.

How to use

Dissolve tablets of misoprostol under the tongue or against the inside of the cheek for 30 minutes. They also work well dissolved in the vagina or in the anus. This is especially useful if the woman is nauseous.

To prevent severe bleeding after birth
Give 600 mcg, by mouth, immediately after the baby is born.
To treat severe bleeding after birth
Dissolve 800 mcg under the tongue for 30 minutes or insert tablets in the rectum.


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