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A Simple Device that Lowers Birthing Danger

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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.

Add a Comment5 Comments

Hi Sherri,
I have belately realized that I actually did post a correction. Please check out my blog of July 17.

January 25, 2010 - 8:57am

Hi Sherri,
Thank you for the correction.

January 24, 2010 - 4:16pm
EmpowHER Guest

Dear Anna, We just read your article about Pathfinder invented the NASG. We would like to make a correction in that they use our device and did not invent it. We are the sole manufacturer and distributor of the original ZOEX NASG developed through NASA technology. Others have renamed our product, however, the name is ZOEX NASG or ZOEX NIASG. Thank you, Sheri Hillenga, ZOEX NIASG, P.O. Box 435, Ashland, OR 97520

January 24, 2010 - 3:06pm

Dear Jennifer,
Thanks so much for that valuable information. In my next post, which will be this week, I will provide an update on the garment.

July 13, 2009 - 12:37pm
EmpowHER Guest

Dear Anna,
Thank you for your post on the non-pneumatic anti-shock garment (NASG) being used by Pathfinder International to reverse shock and address PPH in Nigeria and India. It is nice to see more and more people becoming aware of the NASG. The garment holds much promise to one day be part of the standard of care in order to prevent women from needlessly dying in childbirth. I would like to point out that the garment was not invented by Pathfinder. The NASG has an interesting history/evolution including being used to treat battlefield wounds in the Vietnam War to NASA incorporating it in astronaut training. It is also used by paramedics and EMTs in the US. The Women’s enews article you refer to has now been corrected, as it originally mis-stated the NASG as “the Pathfinder garment”. I would appreciate it if you could update your post so it doesn’t give one the impression that Pathfinder is the inventor of this device. If you would like more information on what is being done with the NASG to save mothers’ lives in low resource settings, please visit www.lifewrap.org.

Jennifer Clark
Safe Motherhood Programs
San Francisco

July 13, 2009 - 11:33am
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