Advocacy & Health Policy: Helping Mothers Survive

Participants act as midwives, and help ACOG Fellow Felicia
Lester, MD, deliver a baby and prevent postpartum hemorrhage

When physicians, nurses, midwives, and other frontline health workers work in a birth setting, they end up with two patients following delivery—mother and newborn. Helping Mothers Survive-Bleeding after Birth (HMS-BAB) is a competency-based training that teaches teams of global women's health providers how to address the primary causes of maternal mortality on the day of childbirth and ensure that birth attendants are prepared for signs of newborn danger.

An HMS-BAB training was held at ACOG on January 29 and 30. Ten Fellows became certified as master trainers in BAB, and 16 students were certified as champions. The training brought together and certified Fellows who can teach what they have learned to in-country providers, who will then be able to save more mothers and babies at birth,” said ACOG staff member and Program Manager Rhonda Brown.

ACOG Fellow Julia Polk, MD, acting out delivery while
Juliana Shantz-Dunn is providing instructions for the
Active Management of the Third Stage of Labor (AMSTL)

The training, organized by Rhonda Brown, was made possible with funds from Laerdal and in coordination with Jhpiego. The following ACOG Fellows were certified as master trainers: Susan Raine, MD; Nuriya Robinson, MD; Doug Laube, MD; Scott Petersen, MD; Frank Anderson, MD; Felicia Lester, MD; Juliana Shantz-Dunn, MD; Julia Polk, MD; and Janie Pak, MD.

The HMS training effectively trains large numbers of global women's health care workers through use of whole-site training, which promotes teamwork and immediate training in response to performance gaps. The interactive, practice-based learning promotes knowledge transfer among team members. Competency, confidence, and skills improvement increases through regular practice using low-cost simulators that are left onsite to conduct the “Low Dose High Frequency” sessions on a variety of topics. Staff take ownership of ongoing practice, which instills a culture of learning and team cooperation.

ACOG Fellow Janie Pak guides students through the Helping 
Mothers Survive action plan and helps identify danger signs

The HMS series of modules can give providers valuable knowledge about how to manage situations that occur on the day of childbirth. The first module of the package, Bleeding After Birth (BAB), is aimed at preventing maternal deaths from postpartum hemorrhage, the leading cause of maternal death globally on the day of birth. After certification, ACOG Fellows will work with their ob-gyn counterparts in resource-limited settings to teach leadership skills and help train nurses, as well as other frontline health care workers who deliver babies in those settings.

ACOG Fellow (left-right) Susan Raine, Scott Petersen, and 
Juliana Shantz-Dunn (right-practicing instruction using the 
Helping Mothers Survive flipchart) practice teaching to bedone
during final day Helping Mothers Survive training

ACOG participates in the Survive & Thrive Global Development Alliance (S&T GDA). Survive & Thrive aims to help save the lives of mothers, newborns, and children by working alongside in-country governments and health professionals to implement high-impact health interventions that leverage the combined resources and expertise of government, professional health associations, private sector, and non-profit partners. 


To learn more about the Helping Mothers Survive training, visit the Jhpiego website:

Additional information on Helping Mothers Survive can also be found on the Laerdal website: and:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188
Mailing Address: PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20024-9998