When drugs to control bleeding from the uterus were not used until the delivery of the placenta, post partum haemorrhage complicated 10 to 16% of all births. This rate was not reduced when ergometrine maleate 0.5 mg intramuscularly was given at the birth of the child (J. D. S. Flew, Proc. roy. Soc. Med. 1947, 40, 370; G. L. Clarke & C. P. Douglas, J. Obstet. Gynaec. Brit. Cwlth. 1962, 69, 904). When the same dose was given intravenously at the delivery of the anterior shoulder the rate fell from 13% to 1%; the incidence of retained placenta rose from 1% to 3% (J. D. Martin & J. G. Dumoulin, Brit. med. J. 1953, 1, 643). This remains the best way of preventing post partum haemorrhage.
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