A re-usable, lightweight suit could save the lives of women at risk of dying during childbirth, a study says.
Over 500,000 women die during childbirth each year
The garment forces blood from the legs to the vital organs if a woman haemorrhages, the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reported.
The University of California study of 364 women found the garments, which resemble the bottom half of a wetsuit, cut death and illnesses by two thirds.
Haemorrhaging causes a third of the 500,000 deaths a year during birth.
During the study in Egypt, 206 women with obstetrical haemorrhaging used the suit, while 158 did not.
Researchers found that women using it lost half the amount of blood as the others.
Lead researcher Suellen Miller said: "The results are dramatic, particularly given the suit can be easily applied by anyone. No medical training is necessary.
"In our research, women who appeared clinically dead, with no blood pressure and no palpable pulse, were resuscitated and kept alive for up to two days while waiting for blood transfusions."
The team said the suit is more targeted at developing countries where women often give birth at home with little or no trained assistance.
When a woman haemorrhages, blood accumulates in the legs and abdomen depriving the brain, heart and lungs of oxygen.
The suit, which consists of five segments with Velcro, pushes blood from the lower parts of the body back to the vital organs.
It is designed to keep a woman alive until she can be treated in hospital.
James Walker, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology, said the suits had the potential to help thousands of women.
"It does seem a practical solution. Of course, cost would come into it and the suits do not solve the problem, they just buy you time.
"A woman who is haemorrhaging would still need to be given a blood transfusion and if medical facilities are not nearby it might not make that much difference."