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Global Health
November 19, 2014

Preventing Abuse, Promoting Respect for Women in Childbirth

JAMA. 2014;312(19):1961. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15534

Promoting programs and policies to institute a high standard of respectful care for women during childbirth around the globe is the focus of a new statement from the World Health Organization (WHO), “Prevention and Elimination of Disrespect and Abuse During Childbirth” (http://bit.ly/1tXdc8v).

Documented abusive and disrespectful treatment during childbirth includes outright physical abuse, verbal abuse and humiliation, medical procedures such as sterilization carried out without patient consent, refusal of admission to health facilities, and life-threatening neglect. Those individuals who are likely to experience this treatment include unmarried women, adolescents, and women of low socioeconomic status. Such treatment can have adverse consequences for the mother and infant and is a violation of a woman’s human rights.

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