This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
Sometimes the womb does not contract so firmly as it should after childbirth, in consequence of which its greatly dilated blood-vessels remain open, and frightful hemorrhage is the result. This is also sometimes caused by only partial separation of the after-birth, the remainder of the after-birth being attached so firmly that it cannot be expelled by the contractions of the organ.
When the hemorrhage is due to partial attachment of the placenta, the after-birth should be removed as quickly as possible. In order to effect this, it is sometimes necessary for the physician to pass his hand into the womb. The necessity for this measure may almost always be obviated by the employment of the hot-water douche at as high a temperature as can be borne by the patient. Where hemorrhage is due to failure of the uterus to contract, the best remedy known is the hot-water douche. The syphon syringe, or some other efficient instrument of the kind, should be in readiness for use in an emergency of this sort. The water employed should be as hot as can be used without burning the tissues. This remedy is generally quite promptly effective.
Uterine contraction may also be stimulated by alternate hot and cold applications to the abdomen over the womb, and to the breast. Care should be taken by the nurse to examine the patient frequently after childbirth to see that there is no unusual hemorrhage.