Complications of childbirth kill more than 500,000 women each year. Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is the leading cause of death. Because nearly half the women who give birth at home in developing countries are cared for by unskilled attendants, it is critical to understand how women and their caregivers recognize bleeding and decide to seek help when needed. Using an approach that combined systematic qualitative data collection and multivariate analysis, we identified local cultural theories that women and traditional birth attendants in rural Bangladesh use to recognize and care for postpartum problems, including PPH. These preliminary findings will be used to further explore cultural norms related to PPH and their possible modes of transmission. The overall approach may be used to develop or improve birth preparedness and complication readiness, a core global safe motherhood intervention.