TW: mentions of medical abuse. A shocking number of women around the world face abuse and mistreatment as they bring babies into the world. Not only is this a human rights issue but it also discourages women in these parts of the world from seeking medical assistance during birth, increasing their overall risks.
Giving birth is one of the most vulnerable times of a woman's life. She is completely reliant on others to help her through the difficult and painful process of having a baby. Labor and delivery can be a downright terrifying experience.
Women in labor depend on the loving care of their family and of medical professionals, but according to a new survey, many mothers instead face physical and emotional abuse at this time.
A recent study conducted by the World Health Organization says that more than one-third of women in four low-income countries in Africa and Asia were abused during childbirth in health centers. The women surveyed reported being slapped, mocked, or forcibly during the time leading up to labor and while they were in labor. The study also suggests that this kind of mistreatment occurs all over the world.
Forty-two percent of the mothers surveyed reported physical or verbal abuse or discrimination during childbirth. They described having been punched, shouted at, scolded or forcibly held down.
Health workers were reported to be neglectful in the care of these women, and to have used force against the women during procedures. Many women were never offered pain medication and serious interventions like episiotomy and C-section were done without the mother's consent.
The women most at risk for abusive treatment during childbirth were younger and less-educated.
Clearly, this type of treatment is unacceptable and a violation of human rights. Women need support, love, and professional care while they birth their babies.
Worldwide accountability is needed to make sure this does horrifying treatment ends. Women have the right to proper care and should not be afraid to seek it.