Can we actually expect humane care in pregnancy and birth? According to a new report, no. Mistreatment in labor is a worldwide issue…
99% of all maternal deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries, where resources are limited and access to safe, acceptable, good quality sexual and reproductive health care, including maternity care, is not available to many women during their childbearing year. The most common cause of these maternal deaths are postpartum hemorrhage, postpartum infection, obstructed labors and blood pressure issues – all conditions considered very preventable or treatable with access to quality care and trained birth attendants.
Analysis of reports examined in this paper indicate that “many women globally experience poor treatment during childbirth, including abusive, neglectful, or disrespectful care.” This treatment can further complicate the situation downstream, by creating a disincentive for women to seek care from these facilities and providers in future pregnancies.
via Science & Sensibility » Report Finds Widespread Global Mistreatment of Women during Childbirth.
From the original paper:
…The researchers identified 65 (mainly qualitative) studies undertaken in 34 countries that investigated the mistreatment of women during childbirth across all geographical and income-level settings. They analyzed the evidence presented in these studies using thematic analysis, an approach that identifies and organizes patterns (themes) within qualitative data. Based on this analysis, the researchers developed a typology of the mistreatment of women during childbirth consisting of seven domains (categories). These domains were physical abuse (for example, slapping or pinching during delivery); sexual abuse; verbal abuse such as harsh or rude language; stigma and discrimination based on age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or medical conditions; failure to meet professional standards of care (for example, neglect during delivery); poor rapport between women and providers, including ineffective communication, lack of supportive care, and loss of autonomy; and health system conditions and constraints such as the lack of the resources needed to provide women with privacy.
via PLOS Medicine: The Mistreatment of Women during Childbirth in Health Facilities Globally: A Mixed-Methods Systematic Review.
I’ve written about violence against women during pregnancy before:
Domestic Violence During Pregnancy | Talk Birth
Companion guest post about abuse of women during labor:
Guest Post: Abuse of pregnant women in the medical setting | Talk Birth.
It was via link trackbacks to these posts, that I read an article about birth control which raises important questions related to men’s health as well:
…Around the planet, advocates for healthier families insist that reproductive rights are human rights. Are they? If so, why is little attention paid to reproductive empowerment of the half of humanity born male? An honest human rights framework would acknowledge that the difference between the top easily reversed family planning method available for women (1 in 2000 annual failure rate) and the top method available for men (1 in 6 annual failure rate) is unjust and unconscionable…
Condoms are So Hundred Years Ago: Why Better Birth Control for Men Would Be Better for Everyone | ValerieTarico.
And, finally, bringing it back to women’s health, I read a horrifying article about young women working in factories using radioactive paint.
…When the women began exploring the possibility that their factory jobs had contributed to their illnesses, university “specialists” requested to examine them. Former factory girl Grace Fryer was declared to be in fine health by two medical experts. It would later be revealed that the two experts who had examined her were not doctors at all but a toxicologist on the US Radium payroll and one of the vice-presidents of US Radium…
The Radium Girls and the Generation that brushed its Teeth with Radioactive Toothpaste | Messy Nessy Chic.
This is why people question GMOs, flouride, vaccines, ultrasounds, artificial sweeteners, etc. Because we cannot always assume benign intent, nor can we assume full and appropriate disclosure, risk assessment, and truth from corporations with a vested interest in claiming no harm.
Super quick post for today! I’ve been busy grading papers and have a class to teach tonight.
Resonant topics for me! I’ve been following the obstetric violence issues more closely. And there is a play called Radium Girls that my daughter and younger son were in several years ago at my daughter’s high school. It is truly a horrifying, cautionary tale about the adoption of new technology/methods/practices and cover-up.
It is a significant issue–both obstetric violence (“normative abuse” and improperly tested technologies! Thanks for reading. 🙂