More than 13 percent of women giving birth in US are abused and discriminated against - study

April 6, 2024  14:22

Abuse and discrimination during childbirth are widespread in the United States, affecting more than 13% of women in labor.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, sought to determine how often women in labor in the United States experience mistreatment by healthcare providers during childbirth. According to the findings, 13.4% of study participants, or one in eight, reported being mistreated during labor, with some groups at higher risk of being mistreated.

Those at higher risk of maltreatment included people who were unmarried, Medicaid-insured, nontraditional, obese, had a history of substance use disorders, mood disorder, intimate partner or family violence, and unplanned cesarean delivery.

Researchers conducted the study using representative survey data collected from respondents to the 2020 Pregnancy Risk Monitoring System in six states and New York City. All respondents had a live birth in 2020 and participated in a postpartum health assessment survey between 12 and 14 months postpartum.

Data was collected from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2022 from 4,458 postpartum births, representing 552,045 live births in 2020.

According to the study, the most frequently reported experience by patients was "being ignored, denied help, or not responding in a timely manner." This was followed by "yelling or swearing" by health care providers, any other mistreatment, and health care providers threatening to "refuse treatment or force you to take treatment you don't want."

In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a sharp increase in maternal deaths, from 861 in 2020 to 1,205 in 2021.


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