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Blood loss after giving birth is called postpartum hemorrhage if the mother loses more than two cups. This heavy blood loss can occur right after birth, or many hours later. There can be a lot of blood at once, or it can appear in small gushes. For women who give birth at home or in a freestanding birth center, medical management with drugs such as Pitocin may not be available. You may also prefer natural treatments. So, what are some natural treatments for postpartum hemorrhage, and do these treatments work?

If you are considering a homebirth, you have probably visited natural birth forums across the internet, and may have seen some discussions where natural treatments for postpartum hemorrhage are being discussed. The most frequently mentioned natural cure for hemorrhage is Shepherd's Purse. The tincture, taken under the tongue, is said to be effective at stopping bleeding. There are lesser-known herbal remedies for heavy bleeding too, including Motherwort (as a preventative), and cayenne tincture.

Pregnant women who are interested in potentially using these (or other) herbal medications should first take the time to read about the herb and its effects. While conducting true research on the internet is next to impossible, if you find many contradictory opinions within midwifery circles, caution is obviously advised. To name an example I had two homebirths, and by the time I was pregnant with my second, my midwife had become interested in herbal medicine.

By reading several books about herbal treatments, and by browsing on the web, I found some shocking contradictions about cayenne tincture. Some sources said it was a highly effective cure for postpartum hemorrhage, while other midwives reported that the tincture stopped heavy bleeding initially, but it also increases blood circulation. In other words, the bleeding can come back with a vengeance, perhaps by the time your midwife has already left. The fact that there is little scientific evidence that herbal medication works, including for postpartum hemorrhage, doesn't mean that it doesn't. It may work. Or it may not.

Personally, I decided that a postpartum hemorrhage wasn't the time to experiment with this. I wanted my midwife to carry Pitocin (I never did hemorrhage, and it s good to know that it's actually quite rare to do so).

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