Professor Suellen Miller, already known as a co-author of A Book for Midwives, has adapted a century old piece of first aid equipment to deal with obstetric hemorrhage. Obstetric hemorrhage is considered one of the most serious complications of childbirth. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality from pregnancy and childbirth related complications. It is when a woman bleeds too heavily right after giving birth.
Globally, a woman dies every 4 minutes from obstetric hemorrhage. It is a rare cause of mortality in the US, where women, regardless of where they choose to birth, have better access to medical treatment in the event of such an emergency. A woman can bleed to death in about two hours from a hemorrhage, but around the world, advanced medical treatment can be several hours or even days away. (1)
Professor Miller founded and runs the Safe Motherhood Program at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health in San Francisco. Dr. Miller is Adjunct Professor of the Maternal and Child Health Program at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. She has spent nearly three decades working to improve maternal health in areas of the world without access to sophisticated medical care. She is on the Technical Advisory Board of “No Woman, No Cry,” a documentary on maternal mortality.
Through her work, she has helped expand the use of a particular type of “non-inflatable anti-shock garment” (NASG) to be used to save mothers in isolated areas in the event of a hemorrhage during or after labor. LifeWraps is a promising innovation used to stabilize and transport hemorrhaging women over long distances. The suit has been found to be effective for up to 48 hours and can mean the difference between life and death for women who might otherwise bleed to death while seeking medical attention.
Miller, based in the United States (with frequent trips abroad), founded and heads up the Safe Motherhood Program at the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, located at the University of California, San Francisco.
Learn more at LifeWraps.org.
1. Maine D. Safe Motherhood Programs: Options and Issues. New York, NY: Center for Population and Family Health, Columbia University; 1993.