According to a 2003 British study, 1 in 1,000 women in the developing world die of postpartum hemorrhaging (PPH.) Pathfinder International, a nonprofit from Watertown Mass., has invented a device which can prevent all those wome from dying.
It consists of a garment that fits tightly around the abdomen and legs, and is capable of stemming the flow of blood from from the body parts compressed under it, which can alleviate postpartum hemorrhaging. It can also reverse shock - something that occurs when the heart, lungs and brain are deprived of oxygen because of the blood accumulation in the legs and lower abdomen. The garment returns blood to the vital organs, which in turn counteracts shock.
Dan Pellegroom, Pathfinder's chief executive officer, said that the vast majority of PPH are preventable. This condition can arise when a woman has an infection, when she is fatigued after many hours of labor, when her uterus fails to contract after delivery, or when a part of the placenta remains in the womb.
Pathfinder's two year old program has benefitted 400 women in Nigeria and 100 women in India. Women in these countries suffer more than one-third of all maternal deaths in the world - with one quarter of those deaths resulting from postpartum hemorrhaging, according to the World Health Organization. Susan Collins, a senior program officer for Pathfinder, says that approximately 50 percent of women in India give birth at home, and in remote parts of Nigeria up to 80 percent of women do. Collins states, "When a hemorrhaging woman can get the anti-shock garment, wearing it up for up to three days can buy her time while she is transported to facility where doctors can treat her."
Information for this article was obtained from Women's enews.