changing maternity care

Toolkit to Change Disrespect and Abuse in Prenatal & Maternity Care

#metoo is the voiceless finding voice, finally! Yet, what about countless women who are abused while receiving prenatal and maternity care.

It happens and is not talked about enough. Few ways are available for women to remedy prenatal and maternity care abuse. Childbirth educators, doulas, midwives, nurses, and other childbirth professionals can help bring change.

The first strategy is prevention. Create a resource list to share with families of health care providers and hospitals that are well known to be supportive and respectful of a woman’s rights in pregnancy and birth. Families should be able to select those who would not harm them.

Another strategy is to speak up. Talk about what you’ve witnessed. Counsel women. Listen to them. Encourage women who have been abused or disrespected in their birthing experiences to write a letter, an email or record a video stating what occurred and send it to the hospital department that advocates or provides customer service for patients. They should do this even if it happened a long time ago. Documenting wrongs can turn them right. It is an empowering start.

Tool Kit Links Below

We will continue to add resources. Join our email list to receive notice of future additions.


* Unhappy with Maternity Care? File a Complaint! — Steps to voice your concerns

* Journal Article: Global Epidemic of Abuse and Disrespect in Childbirth — Includes practical strategies to implement and train health care staff

* Lessons Learned: Disrespect and abuse during facility based childbirth — Included chart classifies and defines under reported categories of abuse

* Journal Article: Abuse in Hospital-based birth settings

* Blog Post @ Improving Birth: Disrespect and Abuse in Childbirth? Prove it! — How to advocate for change

* Respectful Maternity Care: Universal Rights of Childbearing Women — Poster to download and share

* A guide for respectful maternity care – Many ideas to implement change

* Maternal Health Task Force: Respectful Maternity Care — A definition of respectful maternity care

* Blog Post: You were mistreated in birth?

* Prevention and elimination of disrespect and abuse during facility-based childbirth — WHO statement with practical ways to implement change

* Article: Disrespect and Abuse in Childbirth and Respectful Maternity Care — Information about the movement to change the mistreatment of pregnant women

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