More than a third of women in a new survey indicated that they had been mistreated during labor and childbirth. The women in the data set came from four low-income countries, three of them in Africa.
The study, conducted by the World Health Organization, found that 13 percent of Caesarean births in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar, and Nigeria were performed without the mother’s consent; three-fifths of vaginal examinations were also not consented to. Female respondents also did not consent to three-quarters of all episiotomies performed on them.
The WHO suggests that greater privacy, better informed consent policies, and “women-centered care” are some of the practical solutions to the problem. Women should also be permitted to “have a companion of their choice with them throughout labour and childbirth,” the U.N. agency argues.