Every day, difficult pregnancies result in physicians using birth-assisting tools such as a vacuum extraction tool or forceps. Yet the use of birth-assisting tools is one of the most common reasons that birth injuries keep happening. A new invention called the Odón Device may be the answer for a safer alternative to common delivery tools.
What is the Odón Device?
The Odón Device is a birth-assisting tool consisting of a polyethylene (plastic) bag and rubber suction cup. During a long, difficult delivery, the plastic bag wraps around the infant’s head. This protects the brain and head while the suction cup pulls the infant. A timer is set once the plastic is around the infant’s head. A pump on the insertion handle of the device allows doctor to pump a small amount of air into the bag, which helps make a more secure grasp when pulling the infant out. The inside surfaces of the bag are lubricated to help prevent injuries as the baby is pulled out.
Who Invented the Odón Device?
The Odón Device was invented by a mechanic in Argentina named Jorge Odón. Odón watched a video on methods to extract a cork from wine bottles, which sparked the idea. The video suggested using a plastic bag around the cork and inflating it, making the extraction easier and safer. Odón presented his idea to a physician who immediately took interest. The physician had success when running mock tests of the procedure using a glass jar and doll. The physician and Odón worked together to develop the device to work on humans.
The device was tested at several hospitals as well as a laboratory in Iowa that has simulation equipment. In addition, over 200 women undergoing difficult pregnancies used the device, resulting in safe deliveries.
Is the Odón Device Available in the United States?
The Odón is still being tested, and researchers are continuing to review studies and outcomes. Most doctors agree it is safe enough for midwives to use during training sessions while it undergoes testing and the World Health Organization (WHO) fully backs the device. The WHO states that it has
“the potential to save the lives of mothers and newborns at the time of birth.”
In addition, several agencies, such as the Grand Challenges and the United States Agency for International Development, have backed the project. The device is expected to be manufactured by Becton, Dickinson, and Company (BD), most well-known for making syringes.
Has a Date Been Set for Release?
According to the WHO, once the device goes through several series of testing, it will undergo a three-session protocol in which rigorous experiments will be performed. Once that is complete, there will be a better idea of a release date. So far, however, the preliminary testing is showing promise that the Odón Device may one day replace the tools commonly associated with birth injuries.