A placebo-controlled trial of oral ergometrine to reduce postpartum hemorrhage

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1996 May;75(5):464-8. doi: 10.3109/00016349609033355.


Background: Active management with oral ergometrine 0.4 mg was compared with expectant management for the control of blood loss in the third stage of labor in women at low risk of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH).

Methods: A three-arms randomized trial in which 0.4 mg ergometrine (2 tablets of 0.2 mg) was set off against placebo, both groups allowing comparison with a standard oxytocin regimen of 5 IU. Women at low risk for PPH. Of 367 parturients, 146 were randomised to ergometrine 0.4 mg, 143 to placebo and 78 to intramuscular oxytocin in a 2:2:1 design.

Results: Compared with placebo, ergometrine reduced blood loss with 5% (-5%; Confidence interval: -20% to +13%). Oxytocin reduced blood loss with 9% (-9%; Confidence interval: -26% to +12%) versus placebo.

Conclusion: Oral ergometrine has too little effect on blood loss after childbirth in order to be a good alternative to parenteral prophylactic management.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Ergonovine / administration & dosage
  • Ergonovine / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parity
  • Placebos
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / drug therapy*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / prevention & control
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome


  • Placebos
  • Ergonovine