Violence during childbirth

Mistreatment during childbirth is widespread in Nepal be it in public hospitals or private. Verbal abuses, scolding and neglecting are the main forms of mistreatment.

Nurses are mostly the ones who mistreat women. It is sad that the majority of abusers are women. I have the experience of being a victim. During my labor pain I was scolded by a nurse not to cry out in pain if I wanted a normal delivery.  Everyone knows that pain is obvious during childbirth, but why do health workers scold or abuse women who cry out in their pain.

If medical professionals have the right to humiliate women in pain then hospitals should stop checking pregnant women. Many doctors also practice this. If doctors and other service providers really take care of delivering women, the C-section rate would not have  crossed the limit of the World Health Organization.

According to a new report published in the journal PLOS Medicine, “many women globally experience poor treatment during childbirth including abusive and  disrespectful care.”   Researchers   found that women are  mistreated  across all income levels and all  locations.    Women are neglected and forced to share beds with other women who just gave birth. According to New York Times reports  they are scolded and even pinched. The mistreatment  ranges from  neglect, poor communication, to the extreme: slapping, pinching, gags, threatening, and verbal abuse. Health officials say the key to reducing maternal mortality is to give birth at hospitals rather than at home. But women will avoid hospitals if they are mistreated.

Every woman needs and has the right to access skilled and high quality health care during childbirth. Lack of information about the issue and fear of talking about it from women who experienced maltreatment complicates the prevention and eradication of this type of violence. The practice of mistreating can also be minimized if the husband of a delivering woman is allowed to enter the labor room.

These days mistreatment by doctors, nurses and other hospital staff is discussed openly on television and people have started to speak up for their right.  There should be stricter rules to monitor and punish medical professionals who mistreat women. Reasonably good health facilities are everyone’s right. Taking care of those who bring life into this world should be a top priority.