Reduced postpartum hemorrhage after implementation of active management of the third stage of labor in rural Honduras

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2012 Dec;119(3):217-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ijgo.2012.07.007. Epub 2012 Sep 12.


Objective: To assess outcomes after auxiliary nurses were trained and given resources to use active management of the third stage of labor (AMTSL) for all women giving birth in a low-resource, low-risk, rural, public birth center setting in northern rural Honduras.

Methods: Auxiliary nurses received training on estimation of blood loss before the preintervention phase of the study (July 2004 through April 2005) and AMTSL, including use of intramuscular oxytocin, and estimation of blood loss prior to the intervention phase (July 2007 through June 2008). Preintervention and intervention data on use of oxytocin, blood loss postpartum, hemorrhage rates, and management interventions were collected and compared.

Results: After nurses received training on AMTSL using intramuscular oxytocin, the use of intramuscular oxytocin during the third stage of labor increased from 63.8% to 96.5%. Postpartum hemorrhage rates decreased from 14.8% to 5.9% (P=0.001). Use of intrapartum oxytocin, which can have adverse effects, also increased: from 6.1% to 22.7% (P<0.001).

Conclusion: Training auxiliary nurses to perform AMTSL using oxytocin in this birth center setting was effective in reducing the rate of postpartum hemorrhage; however, increased use of intrapartum oxytocin may be an unintended outcome of the increased accessibility of oxytocin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Honduras / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Labor Stage, Third
  • Maternal Health Services / organization & administration
  • Maternal Health Services / standards
  • Nursing Assistants / education*
  • Nursing Assistants / organization & administration
  • Nursing Assistants / standards
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Oxytocics / administration & dosage*
  • Oxytocics / adverse effects
  • Oxytocics / therapeutic use
  • Oxytocin / administration & dosage*
  • Oxytocin / adverse effects
  • Oxytocin / therapeutic use
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rural Health Services / organization & administration
  • Rural Health Services / standards
  • Young Adult


  • Oxytocics
  • Oxytocin