News U.S.

Mistreatment during US maternity care afflicts many women: survey

Mistreatment during US maternity care afflicts many women: survey
Source: Pixabay

One in five women say they experience mistreatment — including scoldings — during pregnancy and delivery care from US health professionals, a survey released Tuesday found.

The mistreatment was even more common among Black, Hispanic and multiracial women and those without private insurance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

“These data show that we must do better to support moms,” CDC Chief Medical Officer Debra Houry said in a statement.

Common types of mistreatment, according to the CDC Vital Signs report, were receiving no response to requests for help, not having physical privacy protected, being threatened with withholding treatment or made to accept unwanted treatment, and getting scolded or shouted at.

The survey noted that improving the quality of maternity care can prevent pregnancy-related deaths.

Some 30 percent of Black women, 29 percent of Hispanic women and 27 percent of multiracial women reported experiencing mistreatment during maternity care, according to the survey conducted in April.

Feelings of discrimination are frequent, it reported.

“The most common reasons for reported discrimination were age, weight, and income and varied by race/ethnicity,” it said.

Women commonly hold back from asking questions or discussing concerns with their providers during maternity care, it found.

Embarrassment over talking about issues was one reason women reported for holding back concerns, as was a fear that providers would think they were being difficult, or were rushed, it found.

The type of insurance held by women also impacted their experiences, it said.

Women with no insurance (28 percent) or women with public insurance (26 percent) during maternity care reported experiencing more mistreatment than women with private insurance (16 percent), the survey found.

“Every mother deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Maternal care is a core component of this nation’s health care,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the statement.

“Bias, stigma and mistreatment have no place in our healthcare system.”

About the author


Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

Daily Newsletter