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Saving women’s lives during childbirth

Mothers everywhere stand to benefit from a new form of the drug that helps prevent blood loss after childbirth
Mothers everywhere stand to benefit from a new form of the drug that helps prevent blood loss after childbirth.

Unsplash: Annie Spratt

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Every three to four minutes somewhere around the world a woman will die from blood loss immediately after giving birth.

Post‐partum haemorrhage is the leading cause of global maternal mortality. Yet the solution is simple.

Oxytocin is a drug that has long been given to women as a matter of routine following birth in developed countries.

It is safe, and it is effective: in fact, it is on the World Health Organisation's list of essential medicines for any health care system. But there have been two barriers to its wide scale adoption around the world: it needs to be kept in cold storage, and it needs to be injected.

Now, Associate Professor Michelle McIntosh and her team from the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences have devised a heat stable, dry powder formulation of oxytocin that can be taken by patients via an aerosol spray immediately after childbirth.

Associate Professor Michelle McIntosh (R) heads the team that has developed a new form of oxytocin
Associate Professor Michelle McIntosh (R) heads the team that has developed a new form of oxytocin.

Supplied: Monash University

Associate Professor McIntosh and her team have been involved in the product's design and development since its beginning seven years ago.

This material was produced by Monash University.