New Report: Many Pregnant Women Avoid Hospitals Because They Fear Abuse and Humiliation

Each year, nearly 300,000 women die during child birth, globally. Experts say that this number could be reduced if more women gave birth in hospitals. However, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, many women shun hospitals for fear of abuse, violence and humiliation by healthcare workers. The study found that women around the world suffer verbal and physical mistreatment during labor, such as slapping, pinching, shouting, threats of violence or the withholding of care, restraints and painful vaginal examinations performed with or without the woman’s consent. The World Health Organization in 2014 cited other forms of abuse that women face in hospitals, including forced sterilization and detention of new mothers and babies “for inability to pay” medical bills. Unmarried women, migrants, poor women, and women from ethnic minorities often suffer more intense abuse or humiliation.


Compiled from: Grady, Denise, Report Shows Widespread Mistreatment by Health Workers During ChildbirthThe New York Times (June 30, 2015).