Mistreatment by Health Professionals Common During Childbirth

Most common type of mistreatment is ignoring the patient, refusing request for help, or failing to respond in a timely manner
Mistreatment by Health Professionals Common During Childbirth
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

THURSDAY, April 11, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Mistreatment during childbirth is common in the United States, according to a study published online April 4 in JAMA Network Open.

Chen Liu, from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, and colleagues estimated the prevalence of mistreatment by health care professionals during childbirth in a representative multistate sample. The cross-sectional study included survey data collected from respondents to the 2020 Pregnancy Risk and Monitoring System in six states and New York City. The sample included 4,458 postpartum individuals representative of 552,045 people with live births in seven jurisdictions in 2020.

The researchers found that 13.4 percent of participants reported experiencing mistreatment during childbirth, with being "ignored, refused request for help, or failed to respond in a timely manner" the most common type of mistreatment (7.6 percent). Factors associated with experiencing mistreatment were: being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer identifying; being Medicaid-insured or unmarried; having obesity before pregnancy, an unplanned caesarean birth, or a history of substance use disorder; experiencing intimate partner or family violence; having a mood disorder; or giving birth during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Ambiguous associations were seen for mistreatment with race and ethnicity, age, education level, rural or urban geography, immigration status, and household income.

"We found that mistreatment during childbirth was a common experience. To our knowledge, evidence of effective interventions to improve respectful maternity care in the United States is scant," the authors write.

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