Shame on all of us for allowing disrespectful maternity care to happen.

Birth is simultaneously a time for extraordinary joy and a time of intense vulnerability, when women may emerge triumphant or may need the strength of others to see it through. We in Australia need to rediscover pregnancy and birth as a family joy not as an illness to be treated.

There are two sides to the safe motherhood debate. The developing countries have rich community supports and low access to quality health care while women in our society often find themselves alone just when they most need support – often recovering from interventions as we interfere with the normal under the guise of safety.

Research has shown us that 20 to 30% of women who birth; experience traumatic, disrespectful and fragmented care.

Shame on all of us for allowing this to happen.

What drives this high rate of traumatic birth experience in Maternal and Newborn Care?

  • Non-evidence-based beliefs within the community;
  • Established practices – custom and practice and a lack of willingness to change;
  • Convenience for providers – Monday to Friday maternity care;
  • Profit for the individual health professional and the hospital;
  • Perception/illusion of safety in the community – the more you pay the safer you are;
  • Medico-legal pressures for health professionals; and
  • Health Professional fear: the desire to control birth and reduce their personal risk.

Why Does Matter?

  • Interferes with normal processes which may impact on mother child relationship;
  • Can lead to poorer outcomes – physical and/or mental health for the mother and her child;
  • Can result in whole of life damage for the woman who then bears the ongoing cost of care; and
  • Does not involve woman fully in decision making, results in her discomfort and disempowerment = disrespectful care.