A new garment called the Lifewrap, made of neoprene and Velcro, has been designed to treat postpartum hemorrhage and decrease the rate of maternal mortality. The Lifewrap was designed by Suellen Miller, director of the Safe Motherhood Program at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California San Francisco. A presentation for Lifewrap was given at the Women Deliver 2013 conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
It [the lifewrap] works in two ways: it compresses the blood vessels in the lower part of the body, reversing shock by giving back oxygen to the heart, lungs and brain which are very oxygen-dependent tissues.
Postpartum hemorrhaging accounts for “nearly a quarter of maternal deaths globally and is the leading cause of maternal mortality in most low-income countries.” The Lifewrap is designed for buy time so that women can be treated by a doctor for a blood transfusion or surgery. Clinical studies have been conducted by UCSF in in Nigeria, Egypt, Zambia, Zimbabwe and India from 2004-2012.
- Every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
- 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
- Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.
- Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than older women.
- Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies.
- Between 1990 and 2010, maternal mortality worldwide dropped by almost 50%
Here are the World Bank figures for the maternal mortality rate by country. WHO has much more detailed information with an Excel file for each country. Each Lifewrap can be used dozens of times. The original cost was close to $300.00 but that has been driven down to $65.00.