BACKGROUND: Postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) is a leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity. Reducing deaths from PPH is a global challenge. The voices of women and healthcare providers have been missing from the debate around best practices for PPH prevention. The aim of this review was to identify, appraise and synthesize available evidence about the views and experiences of women and healthcare providers on interventions to prevent PPH. METHODS: We searched eight electronic databases and reference lists of eligible studies published between 1996 and 2018, reporting qualitative data on views and experiences of PPH in general, and of any specific preventative intervention(s). Authors' findings were extracted and synthesised using meta-ethnographic techniques. Confidence in the quality, coherence, relevance and adequacy of data underpinning the resulting themes was assessed using GRADE-CERQual. A line of argument synthesis was developed. RESULTS: Thirty-five studies from 29 countries met our inclusion criteria. Our results indicate that women and healthcare providers recognise the dangers of severe blood loss in the perinatal and postpartum period, but don’t always share the same beliefs about the causes and consequences of PPH. Skilled birth attendants and traditional birth attendants (TBA’s) want to prevent PPH but may lack the required resources and training. Women generally appreciate PPH prevention strategies, especially where their individual needs, beliefs and values are taken into account. Women and healthcare providers also recognize the value of using uterotonics (medications that contract the uterus) to prevent PPH but highlight safety concerns and potential misuse of the drugs as acceptability and implementation issues. CONCLUSIONS: Based on stakeholder views and experiences, PPH prevention strategies are more likely to be successful where all stakeholders agree on the causes and consequences of severe postpartum blood loss, especially in the context of sufficient resources and effective implementation by competent, suitably trained providers.
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