Hesperian Health Guides

Danger signs for the mother in the first few days after birth

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.

HealthWiki > A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities > Chapter 11: Labor and birth > Danger signs for the mother in the first few days after birth


Start breastfeeding your baby right away. This will help you stop bleeding sooner.

Bleeding that starts more than a day after the baby is born is usually caused by pieces of the placenta that have been left in the womb. Get medical help.

Danger signs of too much bleeding:
  • soaks more than 2 pads or thick rags in an hour during the first day after birth
  • soaks more than 1 pad or thick rag in an hour after the first day
  • a continuous small flow of blood

What to do:

  1. Rub the top of her womb until it gets very hard and the bleeding stops. Have the baby suck on her breasts, or have someone roll her nipples.
  2. Give 0.2 mg of ergonovine by mouth every 6 hours as needed, but no more than for 4 to 7 days.
  3. If the bleeding will not stop, get medical help. Continue to rub her womb as you take her to the hospital.
  4. If she has signs of infection, give the same antibiotics as for womb infection.

Womb infection

Infection of the womb is very dangerous. If not treated, a woman can become infertile or die.

If the mother complains that she does not feel well, watch her carefully for signs of infection.

Medicines for womb infection
MedicineHow much to takeWhen to take
ciprofloxacin 500 mg by mouth, 2 times a day
doxycycline 100 mg by mouth, 2 times a day
metronidazole 500 mg by mouth, 2 times a day
Continue giving all of the medicines for 2 more days after the fever is gone. But if she does not start to feel better after 1 day, take her to the nearest hospital. She may need other medicines by injection or in the vein (IV).
IMPORTANT! Encourage her to drink a lot of fluids. Do not drink alcohol during the time you are taking metronidazole.