Disrespectful Maternity Care: Labor Room Violence in Government Health Facilities in India
Authors: Lovey Pant, Kanika Sharma, Nazar Khalid, and Nikhil Srivastav
Abstract: The government of India (GOI) endeavors to enhance the satisfaction of beneficiaries by ensuring ‘Respectful Maternity Care’ (RMC) at public health facilities, however, through observations in public hospitals in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, we document widespread mistreatment of pregnant women and extensive labor room violence.
We also observed that women were often humiliated for their fertility choices and had intrauterine devices (IUDs) inserted without their full knowledge and consent. A target driven approach towards population control, staff’s burn-out from too many patients and long shifts, the lack of knowledge among staff on how to deal with the legitimate stress of a life and death situation, and a highly unequal society where it is socially acceptable to victimize low-ranking people, often leads to violence and abuse of pregnant women in delivery rooms.