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The role of misoprostol in making home births safer

Future Health Systems

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  • Our research shows that the administration of misoprostol to prevent postpartum haemorrhage is cost effective and safe when used appropriately.
  • The use of misoprostol to prevent maternal deaths at home, in the absence of emergency obstetric care, could prevent many deaths in developing countries and take us nearer the realisation of Millennium Development Goal 5.
  • Based on the evidence Ministries of Health should introduce misoprostol for post-partum haemorrhage prevention and train providers in its safe administration. This should be supported by international development funders. A learning approach should be taken to these interventions.
  • The potential use of misoprostol for termination of pregnancy should not be seen as a barrier to the implementation of interventions using misoprostol to prevent death due to post partum haemorrhage. An estimated 15% of maternal deaths are due to unsafe abortion. Efforts should be made to provide safe abortion services where the law allows it and reform legislative structures that force women to seek unsafe abortion.