Delayed postpartum haemorrhage due to uterine atony after caesarean section was occurring in women in our recovery area despite many of them already having an oxytocin infusion running to prevent such a problem. We therefore decided to compare the incidence of such problems for a 2-month period before and after altering our uterotonic policy: in addition to the routine bolus dose of 5 units of oxytocin after delivery of the baby, we added 500 microg of intramuscular ergometrine during abdominal closure. We noticed a reduced number of massive postpartum haemorrhages due to an atonic uterus in the recovery room but an increased incidence of nausea and vomiting. No prophylactic anti-emetic was given during this pilot study. This small study suggests that 50 women would need to be given ergometrine at caesarean section to prevent one delayed massive haemorrhage from uterine atony and four extra women would suffer with vomiting. We feel this is reasonable and now use a prophylactic anti-emetic as well as delaying the ergometrine until closure of the rectus sheath which reduces the incidence of nausea and vomiting.
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology 12/2007; 27(8):795-7. DOI:10.1080/01443610701667411 · 0.60 Impact Factor