“The Giving Voice to Mother’s Study” assesses mistreatment during pregnancy and labor. Several factors were considered, such as “race, socio-demographics, mode of birth, place of birth, and context of care.” Though its conclusions are not drawn from a representative sample, this study’s strength comes from reaching minorities in the birthing population. These historically underrepresented segments include mothers who birth at home, mothers who birth in birthing centers, and mothers of color. Of the 2,138 participants in the study, approximately half gave birth in their home or a birthing center. The corresponding statistic for home births in the United States, however, only totals about 1%.
Mistreatment during labor is not unheard of; in fact, it is a common thread in birth stories. How many times have you heard about a bad experience involving a labor and delivery professional? Maybe you even have your own?
Mistreatment during labor is not unheard of; in fact, it is a common thread in birth stories. How many times have you heard about a bad experience involving a labor and delivery professional? Maybe you even have your own? Mistreatment for home birth moms was reported at 5.1%, while women giving birth in hospital reported mistreatment at 28.1%. This may reflect the principles of midwifery care, as having a midwife was shown to be a protective factor against mistreatment.
As in much maternal health research, the issue of racism arises. “Rates of mistreatment for women of colour were consistently higher even when examining interactions between race and other maternal characteristics. For example, 27.2% of women of colour with low SES reported any mistreatment versus 18.7% of white women with low SES.” The graph above, derived from a table in the article shows the comparative rates of any mistreatment reported when comparing race in different contexts of care. This is clearly worth further focus, and more importantly, requires action.
Doulas are compassionate, level-headed, calm, knowledgeable, and provide emotional and mental support throughout the entire childbirth process. They are available when many doctors are not and can provide the professional answers and care that a mother might need. They aim to create the healthiest, most comfortable birthing experience possible.
Doulas fill many roles. They are encyclopedias, confidants, coaches, but most importantly, companions. Finding a doula needn’t be difficult. There are many websites you can use to connect with the right doula for you. One such database can be found by clicking here. Alternatively, your midwife or healthcare team may work closely with a selection of local doulas for you to consider. If you are interested in finding out more about doulas and how they can assist you in childbirth, ask a trusted health care professional or click here.