by Stephanie (Tucson, AZ)
When my son was born, I did not naturally stop bleeding immediately after his delivery. (I know that the lochia shedding is normal for several weeks, but I am referring to the type of bleeding immediately after that could have caused major problems for me.)
The midwife and nurse kneaded my stomach (really hard) and then had to give me drugs (after a drugless labor) to get the bleeding to stop. Do you know why this happens and have any suggestions for preventing it in my next delivery?
I had much the same experience as you after my first delivery (drug free but much bleeding after – I needed a shot of pitocin to slow it down).
I was concerned that it would happen again, so I worked hard through my next pregnancy to prevent that.
My midwife encouraged me to pay extra-special attention to my nutrition and work on boosting my blood supply.
I ate foods naturally high in iron that is easily absorbed (meats and egg yolks) – and I tried to eat them with citrus foods which are said to increase absorption even more (So I always ate my eggs with orange slices).
I also drank herbal teas – red raspberry, nettle, and red clover are good for pregnancy support and boosting the blood.
Do make sure you salt your food to taste – your blood volume expands dramatically during your third trimester (by a full third of its volume). Salting your food to taste helps your body keep up this expansion, meaning a healthier you and a healthier baby.
It also increases circulation and keeps all of your organs healthier – including your uterus which needs to clamp right down.
I recommend you eat very well, and eat a lot of eggs and other iron-rich foods. Drink a pregnancy tea blend or make your own. Red raspberry is a must and nettle and red clover will both be very helpful.
You may also want to work on some affirmations – something like “my labor is going smoothly and easily, my uterus clamps down right away after my baby's delivery.”
The birth is very important, too. Have mother-directed pushing for the second stage. Only you decide when to push, and it's best to let your body tell you (in other words, wait until it's irresistible and your body is pushing on its own).
If possible, you be the one to bring your baby up, and when you do, be skin-to-skin. Nuzzle into your baby's head (no hat). You want to really enjoy that skin-to-skin and the new baby smell. This causes oxytocin, the “mothering hormone” to surge strongly, and it's also the hormone that causes your uterus to contract effectively and clamp down, preventing bleeding.
Ask that everyone present be quiet after the birth, as you don't want anything distracting you from these moments with baby. It should just be you focusing on your baby. A blanket can go over both of you, but chatting and touch from others should be kept to a minimum so you and baby get the right hormonal cocktail to stop bleeding and promote bonding 🙂