Postpartum hemorrhage today: ICM/FIGO initiative 2004-2006

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2006 Sep;94(3):243-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2006.04.016. Epub 2006 Jul 12.


Postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) is the main cause of maternal mortality. Yet, even though solutions have been identified, governments and donor countries have been slow to implement programs to contain the problem. While poverty and low educational level remain the underlying cause of PPH, the current literature suggests that active management of the third stage of labor can prevent it. The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) are attempting to address the chronic PPH crisis by educating their members on best practices and on troubleshooting where resources are inadequate. Some studies found oxytocin to be preferable to misoprostol in settings where active management is the norm. However, secondary clinical effects may prove more troublesome with oxytocin than with misoprostol, and misoprostol may prove to be more practical and equally effective in low-resource settings. Two new interventions are also proposed, the anti-shock garment and the balloon tamponade.

MeSH terms

  • Balloon Occlusion*
  • Catheterization* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Gravity Suits / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Labor Stage, Third
  • Maternal Mortality
  • Misoprostol / therapeutic use*
  • Oxytocics / therapeutic use*
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Shock, Hemorrhagic / prevention & control


  • Oxytocics
  • Misoprostol