The c-section rate in the United States is still at around a third of all births. You would probably rather avoid a cesarean if you could, but this now almost routine procedure is also a lot less frightening than a forceps or vacuum delivery to many women. Wouldn't it be great if there was another, more gentle, assisted birth procedure?
Modern obstetrics is pretty impressive and turn numerous potentially disastrous labor and delivery situations around, yet there's been little progress when it comes to assisted birth methods for a really long time. We've got vacuum, forceps, and c-sections that's it. That might be changing soon though, because an Argentine car mechanic came up with a nifty device. Jorge Od n saw a YouTube video of people extracting a cork stuck up a wine bottle with nothing but a plastic bag one night. You might have seen it too I did and thought it was amazing.
A group of people were given a bottle with a cork inside and asked to figure out how to take it out with only a plastic bag. I honestly thought you were supposed to put the bottle in the bag and smash it to retrieve the cork but without glass everywhere. The actual solution was a bit more sophisticated: twist the bag into a long strip and insert it in the bottle, maneuver the cork onto the bag, and gently pull it out. After seeing the video, Jorge Od n had a dream. He dreamed that the cork trick principle could be applied to save babies stuck in the birth canal.
The 59-year old car mechanic went on to build a device in his kitchen, using a glass jar, his daughter's baby doll, and a fabric bag and sleeve his wife sewed for him. Od n proves that great things can come to you in your sleep!
How exactly does it work? A lubricated plastic sleeve is inserted into the birth canal around the baby's head, after which a plastic bag is slipped into it and inflated to get a good grip on the head. The bag is then pulled until the baby makes its way out, hopefully safely.
Dr Mario Merialdi, the World Health Organization s chief coordinator for improving maternal and perinatal health thinks the device is just fantastic. "This is very exciting," he said.
"This critical moment of life is one in which there s been very little advancement for years."
Dr Merialdi added that potentially very serious birth complications are encountered in around 10 percent of all global births each year. Out of 137 million annual births, 5.6 million babies are stillborn or die soon after birth, while 260,000 mothers die during childbirth. In rich, developed countries, emergencies during birth often have good outcomes after a c-section is performed. In developing countries, obstetric catastrophes are much more likely to be fatal. If the baby is stuck and there is no operating room or surgeon, that's the end of the line. Good car mechanics might already be preventing many traffic deaths each year by simply doing their jobs, but it looks like Jorge Od n will be a true hero!