I remember when I was pregnant with my second daughter. I was extremely apprehensive about the care I would receive because when I was pregnant with my first daughter I never felt like I was heard by my doctor and nurses and was even ridiculed because I questioned a medication they wanted me to take. By the time I was expecting for the second time I was cautious about where and with whom I would get care. I even walked out of a pre-natal care office because I didn’t like the vibe I was getting from the health workers. The last thing I wanted to deal with were doctors and nurses who really didn’t care about me and showed it. I was concerned only about delivering a healthy baby in a caring environment.
That was eleven years ago in North Carolina. Women the world over have experiences far worse than the doctors who treated me as just another patient. Some women are abused and belittled in public health facilities by nurses. The treatment is so bad that most women opt to deliver their babies in a hut as opposed to having to pay exorbitant costs and endure the degradation from health workers.
The problem may seem isolated, but in truth it is more widespread than we think not only in developing nations, but also here in the United States, especially among the poor.
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood has created a Respectful Maternity Care charter that lays out the tenets of proper care all expectant mothers deserve whether they live in Detroit or Djibouti.
I applaud this effort to ensure women are treated respectfully when they deliver their babies. Now, we just need to spread the word.