Hesperian Health Guides
Pregnancy and Birth: Medicines
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.
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.
Nausea, stomach ache, or diarrhea.
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.
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