The Mistreatment of Women during Childbirth in Health Facilities Globally: A Mixed-Methods Systematic Review.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Despite growing recognition of neglectful, abusive, and disrespectful treatment of women during childbirth in health facilities, there is no consensus at a global level on how these occurrences are defined and measured. This mixed-methods systematic review aims to synthesize qualitative and quantitative evidence on the mistreatment of women during childbirth in health facilities to inform the development of an evidence-based typology of the phenomenon. METHODS AND FINDINGS:We searched PubMed, CINAHL, and Embase databases and grey literature using a predetermined search strategy to identify qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods studies on the mistreatment of women during childbirth across all geographical and income-level settings. We used a thematic synthesis approach to synthesize the qualitative evidence and assessed the confidence in the qualitative review findings using the CERQual approach. In total, 65 studies were included from 34 countries. Qualitative findings were organized under seven domains: (1) physical abuse, (2) sexual abuse, (3) verbal abuse, (4) stigma and discrimination, (5) failure to meet professional standards of care, (6) poor rapport between women and providers, and (7) health system conditions and constraints. Due to high heterogeneity of the quantitative data, we were unable to conduct a meta-analysis; instead, we present descriptions of study characteristics, outcome measures, and results. Additional themes identified in the quantitative studies are integrated into the typology. CONCLUSIONS:This systematic review presents a comprehensive, evidence-based typology of the mistreatment of women during childbirth in health facilities, and demonstrates that mistreatment can occur at the level of interaction between the woman and provider, as well as through systemic failures at the health facility and health system levels. We propose this typology be adopted to describe the phenomenon and be used to develop measurement tools and inform future research, programs, and interventions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recent evidence suggests that mistreatment of women during childbirth is a global challenge facing health care systems. This study seeks to explore the prevalence of mistreatment of women in public health facilities of Ethiopia, and identify associated factors. METHODS:A two-stage cross sectional sampling design was used to select institutions and women. The study was conducted in hospitals and health centers across four Ethiopian regions. Quantitative data were collected from postpartum women. Mistreatment was measured using four domains: (1) physical abuse, (2) verbal abuse, (3) failure to meet professional standards of care, and (4) poor rapport between women and providers. Percentages of mistreatment and odds ratios for the association between its presence and institutional and socio demographic characteristics of women were calculated using bivariate and multivariable logistic regression modeling. RESULTS:A total of 379 women were interviewed, of whom 281 (74%) reported any mistreatment. Physical and verbal abuse were reported by 7 (2%) and 31 (8%) women interviewed respectively. Failure to meet professional standards of care and poor rapport between women and providers were reported by 111 (29%) and 274 (72%) women interviewed respectively. Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that the odds of reporting mistreatment were higher among women with four or more previous births (aOR = 3.36 95%CI 1.22,9.23, p = 0.019) compared to women with no previous childbirth, Muslim women (aOR = 3.30 95%CI 1.4,7.77, p = 0.006) and women interviewed in facilities with less than 17 births per MNH staff in a month (aOR = 3.63 95%CI 1.9,6.93, p < 0.001). However, the odds of reporting mistreatment were lower among women aged 35 and older (aOR = 0.22 95%CI 0.06, 0.73, p = 0.014) and among women interviewed between 8 and 42 days after childbirth (aOR = 0.37 95%CI 0.15, 0.9, p = 0.028). CONCLUSION:Mistreatment during childbirth in Ethiopia is commonly reported. Health workers need to consider provision of individualized care for women and monitor their experiences in order to adjust quality of their services.
Project description:Recent evidence has found widespread reports of women experiencing abuse, neglect, discrimination, and poor interpersonal care during childbirth around the globe. Empowerment may be a protective mechanism for women against facility mistreatment during childbirth. The majority of previous research on mistreatment during childbirth has been qualitative in nature.In this analysis, we use quantitative data from 392 women who recently gave birth in a facility in the slums of Lucknow, India, to explore whether measures of women's empowerment are associated with their experiences of mistreatment at their last childbirth. We use the Gender Equitable Men (GEM) scale to measure women's views of gender equality.We find that women who had more equitable views about the role of women were less likely to report experiencing mistreatment during childbirth. These findings suggest that dimensions of women's empowerment related to social norms about women's value and role are associated with experiences of mistreatment during childbirth.This expands our understanding of empowerment and women's health, and also suggests that the GEM scale can be used to measure certain domains of empowerment from a women's perspective in this setting.
Project description:BACKGROUND:While there has been a trend for greater number of women to deliver at health facilities across Tanzania, mothers and their family members continue to face mistreatment with respectful maternity care during childbirth being violated. The objective of this study was to describe the experience of mothers and fathers in relation to (mis) treatment during childbirth in Tanzania. METHODS:Using a qualitative descriptive design, 12 semi-structured interviews and four focus group discussions were held with mothers and fathers who were attending a postnatal clinic in the Lake Zone region of Tanzania. Mothers' age ranged from 20 to 45 years whereas fathers' age ranged from 25 to 60 years. Data were analyzed using a priori coding based on Bohren's et al. typology of the mistreatment of women during childbirth. RESULTS:Mothers reported facing mistreatment and disrespectful maternity care through verbal abuse (harsh or rude language and judgmental or accusatory comments), failure to meet professional standards of care (refused pain relief, unconsented surgical operations, neglect, abandonment or long delays, and skilled attendant absent at time of delivery), poor rapport between women and providers (poor communication, lack of supportive care, denied husbands presence at birth, denied mobility, denied safe traditional practices, no respect for their preferred birth positions), and health system conditions and constraints (poor physical condition of facilities, supply constraints, bribery and extortion, unclear fee structures). Despite some poor care, some mothers also reported positive birthing experiences and respectful maternity care by having a skilled attendant assistance at delivery, having good communication from nurses, receiving supportive care from nurses and privacy during delivery. CONCLUSION:Despite the increasing number of deliveries occurring in the hospital, there continue to be challenges in providing respectful maternity care. Humanizing birth care in Tanzania continues to have a long way to go, however, there is evidence that changes are occurring as mothers notice and report positive changes in delivery care practices.
Project description:What constitutes respectful maternity care (RMC) operationally in research and programme implementation is often variable.To develop a conceptualisation of RMC.Key databases, including PubMed, CINAHL, EMBASE, Global Health Library, grey literature, and reference lists of relevant studies.Primary qualitative studies focusing on care occurring during labour, childbirth, and/or immediately postpartum in health facilities, without any restrictions on locations or publication date.A combined inductive and deductive approach was used to synthesise the data; the GRADE CERQual approach was used to assess the level of confidence in review findings.Sixty-seven studies from 32 countries met our inclusion criteria. Twelve domains of RMC were synthesised: being free from harm and mistreatment; maintaining privacy and confidentiality; preserving women's dignity; prospective provision of information and seeking of informed consent; ensuring continuous access to family and community support; enhancing quality of physical environment and resources; providing equitable maternity care; engaging with effective communication; respecting women's choices that strengthen their capabilities to give birth; availability of competent and motivated human resources; provision of efficient and effective care; and continuity of care. Globally, women's perspectives of what constitutes RMC are quite consistent.This review presents an evidence-based typology of RMC in health facilities globally, and demonstrates that the concept is broader than a reduction of disrespectful care or mistreatment of women during childbirth. Innovative approaches should be developed and tested to integrate RMC as a routine component of quality maternal and newborn care programmes.Understanding respectful maternity care - synthesis of evidence from 67 qualitative studies.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Disrespect and abuse during labour and birth are increasingly reported all over the world. In 2016, a Dutch client organization initiated an online campaign, #genoeggezwegen (#breakthesilence) which encouraged women to share negative and traumatic maternity care experiences. This study aimed (1) to determine what types of disrespect and abuse were described in #genoeggezwegen and (2) to gain a more detailed understanding of these experiences. METHODS:A qualitative social media content analysis was carried out in two phases. (1) A deductive coding procedure was carried out to identify types of disrespect and abuse, using Bohren et al.'s existing typology of mistreatment during childbirth. (2) A separate, inductive coding procedure was performed to gain further understanding of the data. RESULTS:438 #genoeggezwegen stories were included. Based on the typology of mistreatment during childbirth, it was found that situations of ineffective communication, loss of autonomy and lack of informed consent and confidentiality were most often described. The inductive analysis revealed five major themes: ''lack of informed consent"; ''not being taken seriously and not being listened to"; ''lack of compassion"; ''use of force"; and ''short and long term consequences". "Left powerless" was identified as an overarching theme that occurred throughout all five main themes. CONCLUSION:This study gives insight into the negative and traumatic maternity care experiences of Dutch women participating in the #genoeggezwegen campaign. This may indicate that disrespect and abuse during labour and birth do happen in the Netherlands, although the current study gives no insight into prevalence. The findings of this study may increase awareness amongst maternity care providers and the community of the existence of disrespect and abuse in Dutch maternity care, and encourage joint effort on improving care both individually and systemically/institutionally.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Women across the world are mistreated during childbirth. We aimed to develop and implement evidence-informed, validated tools to measure mistreatment during childbirth, and report results from a cross-sectional study in four low-income and middle-income countries. METHODS:We prospectively recruited women aged at least 15 years in twelve health facilities (three per country) in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar, and Nigeria between Sept 19, 2016, and Jan 18, 2018. Continuous observations of labour and childbirth were done from admission up to 2 h post partum. Surveys were administered by interviewers in the community to women up to 8 weeks post partum. Labour observations were not done in Myanmar. Data were collected on sociodemographics, obstetric history, and experiences of mistreatment. FINDINGS:2016 labour observations and 2672 surveys were done. 838 (41·6%) of 2016 observed women and 945 (35·4%) of 2672 surveyed women experienced physical or verbal abuse, or stigma or discrimination. Physical and verbal abuse peaked 30 min before birth until 15 min after birth (observation). Many women did not consent for episiotomy (observation: 190 [75·1%] of 253; survey: 295 [56·1%] of 526) or caesarean section (observation: 35 [13·4%] of 261; survey: 52 [10·8%] of 483), despite receiving these procedures. 133 (5·0%) of 2672 women or their babies were detained in the facility because they were unable to pay the bill (survey). Younger age (15-19 years) and lack of education were the primary determinants of mistreatment (survey). For example, younger women with no education (odds ratio [OR] 3·6, 95% CI 1·6-8·0) and younger women with some education (OR 1·6, 1·1-2·3) were more likely to experience verbal abuse, compared with older women (?30 years), adjusting for marital status and parity. INTERPRETATION:More than a third of women experienced mistreatment and were particularly vulnerable around the time of birth. Women who were younger and less educated were most at risk, suggesting inequalities in how women are treated during childbirth. Understanding drivers and structural dimensions of mistreatment, including gender and social inequalities, is essential to ensure that interventions adequately account for the broader context. FUNDING:United States Agency for International Development and the UNDP/UNFPA/UNICEF/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, Department of Reproductive Health and Research, WHO.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Improving respectful maternity care (RMC) is a recommended practice during childbirth as a strategy to eliminate the mistreatment of women and improve maternal health. There is limited evidence on the effectiveness of RMC interventions and implementation challenges, especially in low-resource settings. This study describes lessons learned in RMC training and its implementation from the perspectives of service providers' perceptions and experiences. METHODS:Our mixed methods study employed a pre- and post-intervention quantitative survey of training participants to assess their perceptions of RMC and focus group discussions, two months following the intervention, investigated the experiences of implementing RMC within birthing facilities. The intervention was a three-day RMC training offered to 64 service providers from three hospitals in southern Ethiopia. We performed McNemar's test to analyse differences in participants' perceptions of RMC before and after the training. The qualitative data were analysed using hybrid thematic analysis. Integration of the quantitative and qualitative methods was done throughout the design, analysis and reporting of the study. RESULTS:Mistreatment of women during childbirth was widely reported by participants, including witnessing examinations without privacy (39.1%), and use of physical force (21.9%) within the previous 30?days. Additionally, 29.7% of participants reported they had mistreated a woman. The training improved the participants' awareness of the rights of women during childbirth and their perceptions and attitudes about RMC were positively influenced. However, participants believed that the RMC training did not address providers' rights. Structural and systemic issues were the main challenges providers reported when trying to implement RMC in their contexts. CONCLUSION:Training alone is insufficient to improve the provision of RMC unless RMC is addressed through a lens of health systems strengthening that addresses the bottlenecks, including the rights of providers of childbirth care.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Improving the quality of maternal health care is critical to reduce mortality and improve women's experiences. Mistreatment during childbirth in health facilities can be an important barrier for women when considering facility-based childbirth. Therefore, this study attempted to explore the acceptability of mistreatment during childbirth in Myanmar according to women and healthcare providers, and to understand how gender power relations influence mistreatment during childbirth. METHODS:A qualitative study was conducted in two townships in Bago Region in September 2015, among women of reproductive age (18-49?years), healthcare providers and facility administrators. Semi-structured discussion guides were used to explore community norms, and experiences and perceptions regarding mistreatment. Coding was conducted using athematic analysis approach and Atlas.ti. Results were interpreted using a gender analysis approach to explore how power dynamics, hierarchies, and gender inequalities influence how women are treated during childbirth. RESULTS:Women and providers were mostly unaccepting of different types of mistreatment. However, some provided justification for slapping and shouting at women as encouragement during labour. Different access to resources, such as financial resources, information about pregnancy and childbirth, and support from family members during labor might impact how women are treated. Furthermore, social norms around pregnancy and childbirth and relationships between healthcare providers and women shape women's experiences. Both informal and formal rules govern different aspects of a woman's childbirth care, such as when she is allowed to see her family, whether she is considered "obedient", and what type of behaviors she is expected to have when interacting with providers. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first use of gender analysis to explore how gender dynamics and power relations contribute to women's experiences of mistreatment during childbirth. Both providers and women expected women to understand and "obey" the rules of the health facility and instructions from providers in order to have better experiences. In this way, deviation from following the rules and instructions puts the providers in a place where perpetrating acts of mistreatment were justifiable under certain conditions. Understanding how gender norms and power structures how women are treated during childbirth is critical to improve women's experiences.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Promoting respectful care at childbirth is important to improve quality of care and encourage women to utilize skilled delivery services. However, there has been a relative lack of public health research on this topic in Nigeria. A systematic review was conducted to synthesize current evidence on disrespect and abuse of women during childbirth in Nigeria in order to understand its nature and extent, contributing factors and consequences, and propose solutions. METHODS:Five electronic databases were searched for relevant published studies, and five data sources for additional grey literature. A qualitative synthesis was conducted using the Bowser and Hill landscape analytical framework on disrespect and abuse of women during childbirth. RESULTS:Fourteen studies were included in this review. Of these studies, eleven were cross sectional studies, one was a qualitative study and two used a mixed method approach. The type of abuse most frequently reported was non-dignified care in form of negative, poor and unfriendly provider attitude and the least frequent were physical abuse and detention in facilities. These behaviors were influenced by low socioeconomic status, lack of education and empowerment of women, poor provider training and supervision, weak health systems, lack of accountability and legal redress mechanisms. Overall, disrespectful and abusive behavior undermined the utilization of health facilities for delivery and created psychological distance between women and health providers. CONCLUSION:This systematic review documented a broad range of disrespectful and abusive behavior experienced by women during childbirth in Nigeria, their contributing factors and consequences. The nature of the factors influencing disrespectful and abusive behavior suggests that educating women on their rights, strengthening health systems to respond to specific needs of women at childbirth, improving providers training to encompass interpersonal aspects of care, and implementing and enforcing policies on respectful maternity care are important. This review has also shown that more robust research is needed to explore disrespect and abuse of women during childbirth in Nigeria and propose compelling interventions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Improving quality of care including the clinical aspects and the experience of care has been advocated for improved coverage and better childbirth outcomes. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to explore the quality of care relating to the prevalence and manifestations of mistreatment during institutional birth in Gombe State, northeast Nigeria, an area of low institutional delivery coverage. METHODS:The frequency of dimensions of mistreatment experienced by women delivering in 10 health facilities of Gombe State were quantitatively captured during exit interviews with 342 women in July-August 2017. Manifestations of mistreatment were qualitatively explored through in-depth interviews and focus groups with 63 women living in communities with high and low coverage of institutional deliveries. RESULTS:The quantitative data showed that at least one dimension of mistreatment was reported by 66% (95% confidence interval (CI) 45-82%) of women exiting a health facility after delivery. Mistreatment related to health system conditions and constraints were reported in 50% (95% CI 31-70%) of deliveries. In the qualitative data women expressed frustration at being urged to deliver at the health facility only to be physically or verbally mistreated, blamed for poor birth outcomes, discriminated against because of their background, left to deliver without assistance or with inadequate support, travelling long distances to the facility only to find staff unavailable, or being charged unjustified amount of money for delivery. CONCLUSIONS:Mistreatment during institutional delivery in Gombe State is highly prevalent and predominantly relates to mistreatment arising from both health system constraints as well as health worker behaviours, limiting efforts to increase coverage of institutional delivery. To address mistreatment during institutional births, strategies that emphasise a broader health systems approach, tackle multiple causes, integrate a detailed understanding of the local context and have buy-in from grassroots-level stakeholders are recommended.