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The abuse women suffer from during childbirth that no ones talking about
A recent study from the World Health Organization found that women across the world suffer from physical and sexual abuse during childbirth. - photo by Herb Scribner
Women across the world face physical and sexual abuse during childbirth, according to a recent study from the World Health Organization.

The study, which compiled information from 65 other studies from 34 countries, found that women also suffer from verbal abuse, discrimination and the lack of support from health systems and health care providers.

These findings illustrate how womens experiences of childbirth worldwide are marred by mistreatment, the researchers said in the studys summary. Moreover, they indicate that, although the mistreatment of women during delivery in health facilities often occurs at the level of the interaction between women and health care providers, systemic failures at the levels of the health facility and the health system also contribute to its occurrence."

To eliminate this issue, the researchers of the WHO study suggest that health care providers and medical professionals work together to ensure that mothers dont suffer abuse during their childbirths.

We call upon these entities to join in efforts to ensure that disrespect and abuse is consistently identified and reported, the researchers said, and that locally appropriate preventative and therapeutic measures are implemented.

Some American programs have already begun to raise awareness about sexual and physical abuse during childbirth, Lane Anderson of the Deseret News reported last year.

The study also said that sexual and physical abuse during childbirth can lead to traumatic childbirths, which not only can impact mothers but also newborn children. Between 25 and 34 percent of women across the world say their births were traumatic, according to Prevention and Treatment of Traumatic Childbirth (PATTCH).

Medical Daily reported that women who suffer from abuse during childbirth can be forced into making medical decisions that they wouldnt otherwise make. Women can also be neglected to a point where both they and their infants sustain life-threatening, avoidable complications, Medical Daily reported.

Moms can also suffer from mental health issues if the physical and sexual abuse ends with them losing their child, Medical Daily reported. Some women between 1 and 9 percent will develop postpartum depression because of their traumatic childbirths, too, PATTCH reported.

Children born during traumatic births can grow up to be more anxious and aggressive than other babies, Medical Daily reported. Some children are separated from their mothers, too, which can lead them down a psychologically tough road. Studies in the past have shown that children benefit in school and development when they grow up with their biological parent.

Recovering from a traumatic childbirth can be a daunting process for some women. Daily Mail reported that it takes women about a year to recovery from a regular pregnancy. But a traumatic childbirth can take longer because of the psychological damages it creates, as PATTCH outlined in the aforementioned report.

The Birth Trauma Association, based in the U.K., recommends women talk to their physicians, family and friends, volunteer supporters or to other women who have had similar experiences to help them recover and understand the issues associated with traumatic childbirth. The BTA also suggests women keep a nutritious diet and maintain a healthy lifestyle through light exercise, like yoga.

The BTA also recommends women listen to other traumatic birth stories to help them recover. The associations website includes a constantly updated list of personal traumatic birth stories that aim to help women find solace.

All the women here have very kindly allowed us to post their experiences on our site because they want to help other women feel less isolated, the website reads. They also believe that by making their stories public, they can help us identify the types of maternity practices which create traumatic experiences.
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