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Int J Fertil Womens Med. 2007 Mar-Jun;52(2-3):97-105.

A continuum of care model for postpartum hemorrhage.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Center for Research on Women and Gender, University of Illinois, Chicago College of Medicine, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


The leading cause of maternal mortality is hemorrhage, generally occurring in the postpartum period. Current levels of PPH-related morbidity and mortality in low-resource settings result from institutional, environmental, cultural and social barriers to providing skilled care and preventing, diagnosing and treating PPH. Conventional uterotonics to prevent PPH are typically not available or practical for use in low-resource settings. In such deliveries, most often taking place at home or in rural health centers, underestimation of blood loss leads to a delay in diagnosis. Deficiencies in communication and transportation infrastructure impede transfer to a higher level of care. Inability to stabilize a patient who is in hemorrhagic shock rapidly results in death. To address these individual factors, we propose a continuum of care model for PPH, including routine use of prophylactic misoprostol or other appropriate uterotonic, a standardized means of blood loss assessment, availability of a non-pneumatic anti-shock garment, and systemization of communication, transportation, and referral. Such a multifaceted, systematic, contextualized PPH continuum of care approach may have the greatest impact for saving women's lives. This model should be developed and tested to be region-specific.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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