Punched. Mocked. Shouted at. Held down by force.
These are some of the ways women remember childbirth, according to a new WHO-led Lancet study that interviewed over 2,600 women in Nigeria, Burma (Myanmar), Ghana and Guinea.
But the problem is likely global—just rarely documented, the AP reports.
- A shocking 42% said they experienced physical or verbal abuse or discrimination while giving birth. Some health workers reasoned that the abuse was “punishment” for uncooperative patients.
- High rates of C-sections, surgical cuts to the vagina and vaginal examinations were performed without consent.
- 57% were offered no pain relief after childbirth
- Younger, less educated women were most at risk for abuse.
“Mistreatment during childbirth can amount to a violation of human rights, and could be a powerful disincentive from seeking facility-based maternity care,” the study noted, calling for these inequities to be urgently addressed.
Editors' Note: This summary originally cited a link from The Washington Post that has since been removed, rather than the AP version.