Postpartum Hemorrhage Overview
Hemorrhage is the largest single cause of maternal death, accounting for about one-fourth of maternal mortality. Misoprostol is promising in two aspects of morbidity reduction:
- by preventing the onset of postpartum hemorrhage when used after delivery of the placenta as part of the management of the third stage of labor; and
- by treating postpartum hemorrhage, either after previous prophylaxis has failed or where no prophylaxis has been given.
Misoprostol stimulates uterine contractions, which may effectively prevent or end bleeding after delivery. It may be especially important in settings where no other effective drugs are currently available for prevention or treatment of postpartum hemorrhage.
Gynuity recently completed the first phase of a large-scale project to evaluate misoprostol for postpartum hemorrhage prevention and treatment and to help raise awareness about its potential, especially in low-resource settings where it could have the greatest impact. In November, 2009, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded Gynuity a $25 million, 5-year grant to implement a series of new research and advocacy activities building upon the success of the initial project.