rebuilding after blood loss in birth - Mothering Forums
Homebirth > rebuilding after blood loss in birth
tabitha's Avatar tabitha 03:44 PM 08-02-2008
i gave birth to my 4th unassisted a few days ago and lost a lot of blood. thankfully the bleeding responded to tinctures and placenta under my tongue. anyway, i have never been so exhausted in my life, i have spent the entirety of the past 4 days on my back in bed and even standing up is hard. this has never been the case in my previous postpartum times.

i have rainbow light complete prenatal system vitamins which i am taking fully. also taking concentrace liquimins, eating and drinking tons. we are very rural so i cant just go to the health food store for things like floradix iron & herbs, though i may order that online if it is a good idea. i have a friend who has been doing some research for me, but i am starting to get frightened by how instead of feeling stronger each day i feel weaker.

my lochia is fine, i am not losing blood at this point. and i am certain that my placenta was whole and came out. when ds was born, he was followed immediately by the already detached placenta and cups of blood measurable because they were already clotted... then the flow of fresh blood that was hard to stop. ds seems very healthy, i am not worried about him- he shot out of me quickly. i am worried about deficiency in me and the fear of PPD and other problems because of low iron.

is there anything i should do beyond the vitamins? i know you can overdose on iron, so if i got floradix should i stop the prenatal vitamins? anyone have personal experience with healing from blood loss? thank you so much...

Defenestrator's Avatar Defenestrator 04:59 PM 08-02-2008
Floradix actually doesn't have much iron in it, just a little + a lot of things that help you absorb iron, so I wouldn't worry about overdosing.

I do think that it is a good idea to get a liquid iron supplement or at least an iron pill that is not made from ferrous sulfate. Take it at least 3 hours before or after your prenatal because the calcium in the prenatal interferes with iron absorption.

Do you eat meat? Red meat and liver contain the most absorbable forms of iron. Other good sources include beets, blackstrap molasses (put it in tea or make cookies out of it if you can't stand taking a couple of tablespoons straight).

There are lots of midwives who believe that chlorophyll helps too.

Sometimes your hemoglobin goes down in the days after the birth because you are rehydrated and your blood is more diluted. High protein foods and lots of water will help you feel better, though.

I also think that vitamin b12 can be helpful.

Rebuilding your blood can take a month or more.
MsBlack's Avatar MsBlack 06:21 PM 08-02-2008
I agree with all that Stacia said. I only add/emphasize that you should expect to need LOTS OF REST for at least a few weeks; it is not abnormal to have a hard time sitting up or standing up at this point. Just minimize doing so. Crawl to the bathroom, consider using a bucket or pot near the bed to pee in (let someone else empty it), and save bathroom trips only for pooping for a few days. Eat eat eat and drink drink drink, and make your only work nursing the baby.

You will probably start to feel better in another day or 3, if you rest a lot now. This does NOT mean that you will be up for 'the usual life' by any means--but you should be able to sit and stand for short periods, gradually getting more strength with passing days.

I think PPD after a large blood loss is mainly caused by women's lack of understanding of what is going on. Remember, there is a difference between being tired/low energy as you rebuild your blood (a sort of physical 'depression'), and actually being anxious/depressed. This is anecdotal, based on women I've worked with who had excess blood loss, and those who came to me after a prior birth with hemorrhage and PPD. The women I've worked with after blood loss did fine, tho they did need some reassurance every so often about length of recovery time. The women who came to me for birth help subsequent to a high blood loss birth (of those who also reported PPD), seemed mainly to have been anxious/depressed because they just didn't get why they were so low energy, didn't give themselves any allowances or get extra help for a bit longer, things like that. Does this make sense? Basically, those who knew they were 'normal' for needing longer recovery time, did not get anxious--those who didn't have a clue tended to beat themselves up and/or worry a lot about 'what is WRONG with me?', leading into PPD. I'm oversimplifying somewhat....

Anyway--just take real good care of yourself and know that it is normal to take longer to recover from birth after a hemorrhage. Line up more help than you might have thought you'd need. I've seen women recover well, and in some cases more rapidly than I would have thought possible, from such's all in listening to your body, meeting those needs. Our bodies are quite capable--and eager!--to build more blood fast in such situations if we give the needed ingredients.
spiderdust's Avatar spiderdust 06:43 PM 08-02-2008
I've heard that taking chlorophyll can help, since it's makeup is similar to human hemoglobin. Be warned though, it will turn EVERYTHING -- including your breastmilk -- green!
DreamsInDigital's Avatar DreamsInDigital 07:50 PM 08-02-2008
Vitanica Iron Extra took me from being severely anemic and almost needing a blood transfusion (H&H of 9 and 24) to being completely recovered (H&H of 15 and 45) in under 3 months.
Vancouver Mommy's Avatar Vancouver Mommy 08:33 PM 08-02-2008
Well, this may not be the route you're interested in, but I will share my experience anyway. I lost about 2 litres (apparently) from a pph following a homebirth, due to a retained placenta with velementous cord insertion that came detached. I was flat on my back for four days till my midwife came into my bedroom and took me (in her own car) to the hospital to have my hemoglobin checked. I couldn't stand without an incredible stabbing pain in my head, and I spent most of the time in a darkened room. I don't think I changed more than a few diapers in those first few days, and other people looked after my lo and brought him to me when he needed to nurse.

It was recommended that I have a transfusion (I think hg level was in the 50-60 range). I was really resistant to the idea, but my mw figured it would be a month or so till I was fully functional (even with heavy duty iron supplements and almost total bedrest), and I had two babies to tend to. I gave in and had the transfusion and felt like a million bucks immediately afterward. I was pretty wigged out, but was very happy to be able to start looking after my new baby.
tabitha's Avatar tabitha 08:51 PM 08-02-2008
thanks you all.

as you can imagine, to this 4-day postpartum mama, the thought of having to be this weak for so long is very upsetting. i live on a farm and my husband is trying to do everything while the garden we live out of goes to the weeds and nothing is harvested or canned. he is here for me now but i know it cant last forever (he has 3 weeks off, 2 are left, but he has to work 2 half-days a week on the side anyway).

there are lots of different kinds of floradix, how can i be sure they are safe to take alongside my prenatals? the kind of floradix i thought i should get is the iron & herbs. does that sound right?

as far as a transfusion, i would have to have medical care. i had an unassisted homebirth. i cannot imagine the can of worms i would crack open if i walked into the hospital asking for blood.

dh just brought in a bunch of beets. they sound good. i am eating the placenta, dh dehydrated it for me. i am saddened that it can/ will take so long but i there isnt anything else to be done i guess. it is just so hard to think into the future and how everyone around me is going to expect me to be on my feet and living life. i dont have a community here.

thank you so much for your advice.
spiderdust's Avatar spiderdust 09:56 PM 08-02-2008
Originally Posted by tabitha View Post
there are lots of different kinds of floradix, how can i be sure they are safe to take alongside my prenatals? the kind of floradix i thought i should get is the iron & herbs. does that sound right?
That's the Floradix I have. My midwife currently has me taking it 3 times a day (instead of the 2 times a day that's recommended on the label) in addition to my prenatals. You're not going to overdose on it at that level, and you probably need it.
MsBlack's Avatar MsBlack 10:53 PM 08-02-2008
It's definitely tough when there is no extra help to be had. At least try to make the most of the next 2 weeks of DHs time off by resting really really well. With enough supplements, food drink and rest, you may well be able to take on some of your duties--no, not all--but some, what absolutely has to be covered by the time he returns to work. Any chance of hiring some help, at least a time or two a week for a couple of hours--to do the housework or whatever is hardest for you?

Just remember that your health is more important than this year's garden--more important than a lot of other things in fact. Maybe you need to give yourself a break in the form of disposable diapers and other stuff you might usually do more organically? On a temporary basis, such things can be considered 'medicinal'.

Maybe just first rest for a few more days. Then, as you begin to regain some strength, start considering with DH the ways you might ease your load, prioritize things, shift finances where possible to hire a bit of help or buy 'sposies for awhile.

Your ability to accept this situation, and to bend as needed with this wind, I can't help but think will mean the difference between a longish birth recovery and a much longer one--complicated by PPD and even more stress. Life has hard times, we get through...this too shall pass. And in the grand scheme of your life, it really isn't that long to give yourself healing time.
DreamsInDigital's Avatar DreamsInDigital 11:11 PM 08-02-2008
Once I started taking the Vitanica iron, I started to feel an improvement within a week. I'm not joking.

Amazon link

Floradix did nothing for me when I was anemic during my third pregnancy. I had no improvement in 12 weeks on my iron level.
Belle's Avatar Belle 12:35 AM 08-03-2008
Originally Posted by tabitha View Post
there are lots of different kinds of floradix, how can i be sure they are safe to take alongside my prenatals? the kind of floradix i thought i should get is the iron & herbs. does that sound right?
That's what I used after my miscarriage. I was very anemic. I had a transfusion too. The Floradix was the only supplement that I took. It really helped.
apelilae's Avatar apelilae 11:15 AM 08-03-2008
I saw an acupuncturist to rebuild blood after my son's birth and I plan to this time around too. It helped so much so fast too. I was also given some herbs to help too.
ChristSavesAll's Avatar ChristSavesAll 02:27 PM 08-03-2008
I thought I read somewhere that drinking the water in coconuts is a natural way to help rebuild after blood loss... I bought some coconuts since I'm having an unassisted homebirth as well... I'll do some more research and get back to you.

Edited to add...
Here are some very useful links
This one talks about using stuff you probably already have on hand.... Also from this website if you scroll down a bit there is lots of info about the coconut water I was talking about... Here is a bit of what is said

Here is some information about Coconut Water:

"It's a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as we have in our blood. It's the fluid of life, so to speak." In fact, during the Pacific War of 1941-45, both sides in the conflict regularly used coconut water - siphoned directly from the nut - to give emergency plasma trasfusions to wounded soldiers.

Coconut water is identical to human blood plasma which makes it the universal donor. Plasma makes up 55% of human blood. By drinking coconuts we give ourselves a instant blood transfusion."
midwifemuse's Avatar midwifemuse 02:44 PM 08-03-2008
I have to agree with Vancouver Mommy, please seek medical advice even if it is just to have your Hb checked,then at least you know what level of iron deficiency you are trying to deal with. It's all very well others saying rest but your DH is having to work half days, who is caring for your other babes?
tabitha's Avatar tabitha 03:03 PM 08-03-2008
thank you all again.

re: medical advice i am not prepared to walk into a doctors office or hospital with my newborn, and i am not leaving him alone. we live in the rural midwest and no one here needs to know my baby was born at home unassisted. also, the chances of getting sick simply by entering one of those places are high. i know i am feeling alive, i am not bleeding heavily at this point. whether my iron is very low or very very low doesnt matter to me, because i want to do everything possible to increase it either way. i will have it checked in a few weeks when i go for an IUD. nothing personal, i just dont have a good relationship with any dr i can trust.

a friend ordered me some floradix-- DreamsInDigital, how did you come to take the vitanica? it isnt that i dont trust it or you, but i had never heard of it and have been checking it out at their website. did you have any trouble with constipation (and the same question for those who use/d floradix?)

msblack. thank you. i know from personal experience with PPD that a lot of it is about being aware of what is going on. if i had known i believe i would have suffered less and perhaps not resorted to meds. our lifestyle is such though that i need to be strong, i need to be able to milk the cow for example. dh can do it for 2 more weeks.

about him working half days, that starts this thursday & friday, and then not again until the following thurs & fri. it is just 4 days out of the next 2 weeks. i may be able to arrange someone to come and keep the kids company while i lay down. dh is being very good about not asking anything of me. it is me, i am feeling so guilty and worried about the future.

so right now i am

1) going to get floradix soon
2) researching liquid chlorophyll to buy
3) taking my rainbow lights religiously
4) drinking and eating well
5) laying down almost constantly
6) eating beets all day
7) taking liquimins
AngelBee's Avatar AngelBee 03:08 PM 08-03-2008
Hang in there.

I have used flouradix and was not constipated using it.
MsBlack's Avatar MsBlack 05:06 PM 08-03-2008
YOu're welcome...

Also, I have never known the herbal iron formulas I've seen, including floradix, to cause constipation. That's because they have natural compounds that aid iron absorption--and some also have compounds that soften the stool (like yellow dock). It is the iron compounds synthesized/extracted in labs that tend to cause constipation--especially ferrous sulfate--at least in part because the body cannot absorb them and instead binds them in the bowel.
DreamsInDigital's Avatar DreamsInDigital 06:21 PM 08-03-2008
Originally Posted by tabitha View Post
DreamsInDigital, how did you come to take the vitanica? it isnt that i dont trust it or you, but i had never heard of it and have been checking it out at their website. did you have any trouble with constipation
My midwife recommended it to me, she suggests it to all of her clients with anemia. She said she has had nothing but great results with it. No trouble with constipation or other tummy issues either.
spiderdust's Avatar spiderdust 07:21 PM 08-03-2008
Do you eat meat at all? Eating liver daily could also help, as well as leafy greens and all of those beets you've been eating.

I haven't had any problems with constipation at all with Floradix, which surprised me since I have with iron supplements in the past. I'm assuming it's because my body is absorbing it.
Emmeline II's Avatar Emmeline II 09:12 PM 08-03-2008
Could you check your tribe board for a local mw instead of a hospital?

Maybe you could ask at the birth professionals board and/or the UC board for advice.

You may not be mobile as quickly as you would liked, but it takes time to replace what you had lost. With my first I went to the store two days after birth and felt pretty good. With my second I had a pph (not sure how much) and it was four days before I left the house and it exhausted me (my first was pre-e but my second was healthy).

Perhaps you can do the "lock everyone in one room" thing for a few days, that a lot of SAHMs do when we are ill and don't have help.
Defenestrator's Avatar Defenestrator 12:00 AM 08-04-2008
I looked at the vitanica supplement. I think it is just as good of a choice as the floradix, and probably will work out to be less expensive.

I use vitanica supplements in my fertility work and like them. The Naturopathic Physician I share my office with recommends them for her clients too.

The regimen you are on right now sounds good though. Keep up the good work! It may take a while before you feel 100% but you will probably notice some improvement from this point forward.
Nicole B's Avatar Nicole B 01:06 AM 08-05-2008
I've seen women recover well, and in some cases more rapidly than I would have thought possible, from such's all in listening to your body, meeting those needs. Our bodies are quite capable--and eager!--to build more blood fast in such situations if we give the needed ingredients.
I apparently had a partially separated placenta during my labor/delivery and lost a pretty large amt of blood (thank GOD baby was still getting everything he needed and did wonderfully through the whole L&D: )

My mw was simply WONDERFUL and kept such a good eye on me and baby and although I'm sure she was more than a bit worried about me, she stayed so strong and supportive and was exactly what I needed to stay strong myself

Anyway, after the delivery although I felt pretty good I continued taking my rainbow light prenatals (still am) and for a good couple weeks I took my floridix religiously, drank TONS of water, and my hemoglobin was quickly back where it needed to be
My family commented how "washed out" I looked for a good 2 weeks though

Get plenty of rest these next couple weeks, drink plenty of water and I highly recommend ordering yourself some floridix
SevenVeils's Avatar SevenVeils 01:35 AM 08-05-2008
I also lost a lot of blood after my last UC.

Stay in bed, drink lots of water, have whoever cooks for you do as much of it in cast iron as possible. Eat acidic foods like tomato, orange etc with your meals to help boost iron absorption. Do you eat meat? If so, things made from beef and tomatoes (like spaghetti sauce with meat or meatballs) are great- again, cooked in cast iron is great.

Liverwurst is a palatable way to eat liver if you don't otherwise like it (I hate liver but love liverwurst/braunschweiger).


There is a product called Hemoplex which I think helped me. Floradix is also great.

Vitamin C also helps with iron absorption.
tabitha's Avatar tabitha 12:02 PM 08-08-2008
sorry i didnt reply again right away- busy!

we were at the hospital last night, my CBC was healthy. they were really impressed. they gave us NO TROUBLE at all. thank goodness!

i have been taking all the good stuff still and will keep on for at least a month. i no longer feel worse every day, kind of the same. baby is getting older and now has periods of awakeness at night, so i am tired. but i am feeling stronger.

consulting with my homebirth midwife from my second birth, she has been really helpful. thank you all here for your support!
battymama's Avatar battymama 11:00 AM 08-09-2008
If you can get some fresh coconuts the juice is very close to human plasma, also liquide chlorofil. i also found spirulina and nettle alfalfa rrl tea helpful
wbg's Avatar wbg 05:34 PM 08-09-2008
Forgive me, I have not managed to read every single post as I am a bit distracted by kiddos, so I hope I am not just repeating! My iron was very low during my last pregnancy and I was very much struggling to get through the day. I did not even know how bad it was until I started to get better and realised I had been barely functioning!

I took liquid floradix 4 times a day! I also took rainbow prenatals. I took beetroot capsules three times a day and yellowdock tincture. And OJ to drink. This was a great combo for me. I needed to boost my iron levels fairly quickly otherwise, I would have been risked out of my homebirth and I was not going to let that happen.

Postpartum, I am continuing the regime but am now only taking the recommended dose of floradix. I have even converted my partner and he is taking beetroot capsules and iron tablets daily. He does not get constipated from the tablets. I do which is why I stick with floradix even though it is kind of pricey.

Good luck. I hope you get stronger soon and congrats on the arrival of your beautiful baby.

If you did need to seek western medical attention, could you not just say you birthed your baby in another state and leave it at that? Oh...just saw your last post so cancel that! Take care of yourself!