Abuse in hospital childbirth gets World Health Organization’s attention

abortionSome good news arrived for women who are concerned about abusive hospital treatment during childbirth.  The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a statement that addresses abuse and disrespect during hospital childbirth.  The WHO statement reads:

Every woman has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, which includes the right to dignified, respectful health care. http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/134588/1/WHO_RHR_14.23_eng.pdf?ua=1&ua=1

WHO outlines the issue:

A growing body of research on women’s experiences during pregnancy, and particularly childbirth, paints a disturbing picture . . . Reports of disrespectful and abusive treatment during childbirth in facilities have included outright physical abuse, profound humiliation and verbal abuse, coercive or unconsented medical procedures (including sterilization), lack of confidentiality, failure to get fully informed consent, refusal to give pain medication, gross violations of privacy, refusal of admission to health facilities, neglecting women during childbirth to suffer life-threatening, avoidable complications, and detention of women and their newborns in facilities after childbirth due to an inability to pay (WHO).

Other abuses not specified by WHO include:

It’s gratifying to see WHO advocating for better treatment and for giving recognition to the abuse, but . . . hasn’t this type of abuse been occurring for many years?

Why has nothing been done until now?

One reason why nothing has been done until now could simply be ignorance of the extent of the abuse.  Fortunately, research, social media and women coming together to form a united force have been remarkably effective in raising awareness.  There are many sites and Facebook pages that have helped to get the word out, like this one:  http://www.improvingbirth.org/ and this one: https://www.facebook.com/birthmonopoly

Raised awareness about the climbing rate of infant mortality may have also been a factor in gaining WHO’s attention.  The infant mortality rate is worse in the United States than it is in many other countries.  More babies are dying before they turn one year old in the United States than in most of Europe and several other developed countries. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/u-s-infant-mortality-rate-worse-than-other-countries/

It could also be that women are making an impact with their choices.  More women are avoiding the hospital and are choosing to give birth at home.

Many women across the globe experience disrespectful, abusive or neglectful treatment
during childbirth in facilities. (1-3) This constitutes a violation of trust between women and their health-care providers and can also be a powerful disincentive for women to seek and use maternal health care services (WHO).
Home births have increased by 50 percent since 2004 in some parts of the U.S.
Birthing babies is big business.  C-section deliveries and giving birth accounts for the largest proportion of hospitalizations and inpatient surgeries by a significant margin:

Top 5 reasons for inpatient surgeries in 2012–2013:

C-section delivery: 100,686 surgeries
Knee replacement: 57,829 surgeries
Hip replacement: 47,297 surgeries
Hysterectomy: 40,127 surgeries
Coronary artery dilation: 40,074 surgeries

Top 5 reasons for inpatient hospitalizations in 2012–2013:

Giving birth: 369,454 hospitalizations
Respiratory disease: 76,705 hospitalizations
Heart attack: 68,835 hospitalizations
Pneumonia: 60,077 hospitalizations
Heart failure: 56,260 hospitalizations (Canadian data.  Note the numbers of total birth hospitalizations: 369,454 and number of C-sections: 100,686)

Regardless of the reason for WHO’s lack of involvement in the past and for their interest now, it’s wonderful to see abuse during childbirth formally recognized as an ‘issue’.  And recognized as one that needs fixing.

Now, how about other issues in women’s health care?  There are a few others that come to mind in need of some fixing too . . .


  1. i want to share regarding the article abuse in the hospital of women.
    i was 21 and had an abortion in a hospital by a mean degrading dr.
    the staff was nasty, and i ended up self aborting! it was awful.
    i have been phobic ever since. its terrible that people in the medical feild who are suposd to care,
    are so cruel.

  2. This is a very good article my repost this to my page? I was abused in the hospital when I was having my baby in the early 90’s. I was coerced into having a c-section I didn’t want. So my daughter has decided to become a mid wife to help women have an easier labor. She’s convinced that doctors are doing the wrong thing by insisting women have c-sections.

    • Hi Shazza91321. I’m sorry to hear about your awful experience in the hospital. Giving birth is supposed to be a special day. Women should be leaving the hospital feeling proud and happy, not feeling traumatized. It’s wonderful to know about your daughter becoming a mid wife and to know the happy ending to your story!
      Of course I would be happy to have this resposted to your page, thank you for asking!

  3. It’s good to hear that this information is getting more notice.

    All the time, I think about how these people would be taking what should be the most special day of my woman’s life & turn it into a traumatic event & I get…well, let’s say “inhospitable.” I’ve been thinking more & more about having a family, but I can see her not having these children naturally as causing quite a serious rift between me & whoever this is with. There’s all kinds of things that can make the kid deformed & retarded, give her injuries & infections, and all of this can be the product of something that was against her objections in the first place.

    The odd thing about this: I’d probably come off as dictatorial for saying this. I don’t know how that would read to a woman, but I get the distinct feeling that a man saying that this is potentially a deal-breaker for him would come off like the “mean man whipping you into things.” It’s like there’s an aversion of him ordering her around as a situation, but these same things from the hospital doesn’t even make the radar!

    We’ve talked about this a few times with regard to there being weird “rites of passage” as far as doing what doctors tell you to, but I think the same thing applies to this situation. Yeah, there’s risks to having children & you’re not endorsing any of them- but the fear of things “going wrong” seems to rope people into medicalized situations WHERE THOSE EXACT THINGS CAN AND DO GO WRONG.

    At least in a different situation, there’s nobody working against you- whether they’d call it “against you” or not. There’s nobody around to bring whatever potential conflicts of interests they could bring (ex: imposing C-sections because it ropes them & the hospital more money, it being easier for them, generating repeat costs whether from treatments of whatever complications that happen to arise or at the next birth where another C-section would likely be imposed- plus whatever psychological motives they might very well have). There’s nobody to accidentally screw things up, either.

    • My reasons for refusing an epidural were different from some women. Some don’t like the idea of it because they fear something being put into their back, others because of the vicious pitocin/epidural cycle. What ever the reason a woman needs to have her birth wishes respected. I’d never look down on a woman for using them, but I would frown at one for blindly being lead by the doctor and not doing some research herself on all the procedures.

      I myself feel birth is kind of a sacred rite for a woman. Where I went tried to get me to do meds for my birth but I was stubborn and didn’t budge. The midwife even tried to bring up pitocin twice while my boyfriend and doula was out of the room, even after I said I don’t want to talk about it till they arrive. A bunch of nurses and other female staff were lingering near my door after the baby came and they kept asking to “Come in and see”, like there was some strange show going on, I was getting thumbs up and being told how I “Rocked my birth”, (This persisted for the two days I was there, so they must have been talking amongst each other.) it didn’t make sense to me till I got home and thought about it. The extra nurses and such didn’t come in to help or anything medical they just wanted to gawk at some spectacle it felt. I wondered if that hospital has seen a woman give birth without any pain killers recent and that’s what had them swarming like curious kittens.

      Most women I’ve met are uninformed of how the hospitals work and are even unaware that some hospitals have them on a timer to hurry them along with medications and intend to manipulate or bully them into taking them. Not saying all doctors are impatient and evil about birth, but doctors in general in or out of a birth center seem to regard their patients with deeper apathy than they did since I was a kid even. The media also doesn’t help, it scares women into not believing in their bodies and feeling they need a heavy amount of medical control (Like they’re being treated for cancer) to survive their birth. They forget that the mothers before us going all the way back to the first did it well enough that humanity managed to become the dominant species of the planet. They act like birth has always been a thing with a doctor, in reality it’s only really been a decade or two over a hundred years since birth in the hospital even became a thing. The pain also scares women (Often shown in movies like they’re being ripped in half the way they scream and cry) sometimes it scares them to the point that the elective c-section sounds more tempting than the natural birth that won’t possibly mess up their plumbing for life like a couple women I knew that had c-sections.

      So if you want a lady to give birth naturally, I’d suggest finding a like-minded woman, or an open minded woman who would take researching these things seriously. A woman has a right to chose how her birth goes, even against the father’s wishes I feel,(It’s her body after all) but she also has the right to know what she’s walking into along with all the pros and cons of her choice, I don’t think doctors are so generous with that, and even nurse-midwives behave a lot like doctors as I learned.

      • Yeah, that’s what I’ve been thinking (about finding a woman that’s like-minded with that or open to th idea). The thing is, even though it’s more her decision than it is mine, I keep coming to the realization that she can make all kinds of decisions that are gone against. Me going after them would do something, but there’d probably be issues afterward- even if it did work (sometimes seeing one of their group go down has an impact on the ability & desire of the rest of the group to continue their actions). Then again, it might not. I don’t think that would be a good childbirth experience for either of us, or the baby- which they sometimes try to capture. I remember a story about a woman who refused a C-section (which I think they did anyway) & deemed her an unfit mother because she was supposedly flipping out with her refusal (“not in her right mind”), which she said she wasn’t. Then they said that the father was unfit because he agreed that she wasn’t flipping out (“not in his right mind”). They didn;t get to go home with their baby!

        Something like that doesn’t strike me as a safe environment medically & one can’t trust that they won’t use medical methods to cause harm at that point. There’s also really nothing to say that one of them doesn’t flip out in a more conventional way (like throwing a punch or something) & that may or may not make the news but it’s still that which takes place in your situation.

      • hospitals are not safe for women obgyn patients. ths happened where i am from
        A Florida teen posed as a doctor for weeks at a West Palm Beach hospital, roaming the halls, checking in on patients – and had a particular interest in hanging around the OB/GYN exam rooms. The 17-year-old teenager, whose name was not released, will not be charged, police said. He’s no Doogie Howser, but he got away with his medical ruse for nearly a month.

        The Sun Sentinel on Jan. 15 reported that “West Palm Beach police busted a juvenile who was posing as a doctor — with a white lab coat and all — for a month at St. Mary’s Medical Center. Police said they got a call on Jan. 13 about a juvenile walking around in a white doctor’s lab coat and carrying a stethoscope who was telling people he was a doctor.”

        Staff at the hospital said the juvenile would enter rooms and “observe” patients. He asked a number of doctors on staff if he could “shadow” them, and was seen looking in on women as they were being examined by gynecologists.

        i self aborted in a hospital yrs ago. no care, rude dr. i hav had exam phobia ever since!

  4. Jsut posting again so I can get the new comments notification (it is the “comments” one that’s for new posts on this particular topic, right?).

  5. Women “health care” is stuck in Middle Ages, and many developed countries are the worst offenders. Sometimes doctors in undeveloped countries, while having no technology or tools, are more caring, understanding and compassionate than their “colleagues” in developed countries.

    • You know I actually read something about that somewhere. The more technological (or maybe it’s “technologically-focused”) a society becomes, the worse things get with childbirth. I think they also tend to get more cruel to women, in general.

  6. This is great, maybe somehow it will get through to the dense nurses and doctors and midwives who still always say “I believe in a woman’s right to choose *but* I have two patients and one of them doesn’t have a voice so that means sometimes i have to make tough decisions” and such. There was recently a discussion in the comments of a Mothering article where apologist birth rapist nurses were explaining the world from their perspective, and how sometimes they have to make tough decisions to protect the patient who doesn’t have a voice. Anyway, i really hope this trickles down, or better yet rushes down. My first birth was an awful traumatic experience where i was pressured into an unnecessary c-section for 8+ hours, starved for 2 days, battered with fetal monitoring belts, and basically called a terrible mother to my face **while trying to push out baby**. The worst part of it was them acting like they cared about my baby more than me, so disgusting. Anyway, baby was born via forceps. My second baby was unassisted and guess what – zero violence!! We don’t need the medical establishment anyway. Seriously, just drink some raspberry leaf tea, and stay away from all doctors and midwives. If there’s a problem – then go to hospital, and only then. Otherwise don’t be surprised if they make a whole host of problems for you. Per the article, the most medicalized country (US) also has the highest infant mortality rate in teh developed world, so yeah, QED.

    • Erika, that’s my approach also: stay away from the whole medical establishment, the further, the better. All they care about is their profits, their convenience and their legal safety. They don’t care what is better for the patients.

      For example, in Australia a person cannot just have a simple lab test done, get the result and make own decision on the further actions. No…
      You have to make an appointment with a doctor, pay for it, and ask the doctor for a referral to the test. Then you have to go to the pahology laboratory, pay for the collection of the test specimen, pay for the test analysis and pay for the handling of the results. But you can’t have the results. They go back to the doctor. So you have to make another appointment with the doctor to see the results, and pay for the unnecessary appointment again of course. This means nearly 3 days wasted off work, loss of income, lots of unnecessary payments, and lots of waiting. This also means more profits for the medical system, that’s why they invented this procedure.

      There is technically a way to extract a copy of the test result for yourself, without seeing a dictor extra time, but it takes weeks, involves the disclosure of too much personal information and costs even more.

      The medical bureaucrats claim (as per usual!) that it is all for our own benefit, because the patients are all such intellectual invalids, unfit to read their own test results, and, god forbid, make their own decisions. They are perfectly fit to work and pay taxes though!

      Also, all these extra payments and expenses are on top of the compulsory Australian Medical levy that takes 2% of each person’s income, and the private hospital health insurance that most working people are forced to take, which doesn’t cover much and pays back even less. So the system gets the money even if every sane person would go to doctors only as an absolutely last resort.

      We are constantly told that we should be grateful for the best health care system in the world. Best for the medical establishment and bureocrats — perhaps. But not for the patients.

    • The “choice” about using a midwife where I live, Ontario, Canada, is a total lie. Their are not enough midwives for anyone who wants them. The path to getting a midwife is paved with every unneccessary test as midwives are “only allowed to assis for low risk births”. They need to do every test imaginable to determine who is low risk or high risk. If a women refuses tests she will not be able to get a midwife. Women who want a low intervention birth often just “forget to go to the hospital” and birth unassisted at home.

      The current birthing trends in hospitals and even special “birthing centres” just reminds me of the rude waiters at a buffet restaurant impatiently hovering for your family to leave the table and starts clearing up before you have your coat on. Babies come when they want and this does not suit hospital or birthing centre schedules.

      The constant monitoring and interrupts by strangers in labour actually slows the progression of labour and upsets the mother. Does anyone care?

      • Of course nobody cares. The medical systems in most developed countries only care about two things: how to make more money and how to protect themselves from lawsuits.

        Medicine is a very big business. To maximize the profits, hospital beds must be filled and emptied, quickly. So the women are forced to go to hospitals (to fill those beds) and forced to have quick, indiced births (to empty the beds faster). It is like an industrial money-making conveyor belt. At no point the medical systems care about what’s best for the mother or the child.

    • I’m sorry to hear your first birth was so traumatic! I hear you about the “Have to think about the baby!” statements. People forget we are not glass containers growing fetuses inside, we’re human beings, and until that baby is out of your body your pain and distress is his/her’s as well. It’s not right to treat mommies like baby containers, it ruins one of the most beautiful days of their lives as women.

      If I have another baby, I will be doing so at home unassisted I think. I feel the only reason a hospital is necessary is that very low chance where a c-section is truly needed, and not used as a means of convenience for medical staff and their schedules.

    • thanks for being there. i am an abuse survivor, and know the anxiety that being examined
      can cause. we need more people like you.
      i have struggled so lng with gyn trauma that i don’t go anymore. I hav had a diagnosis, just come bak when you can have an exam. No mention rude staff, ho i tell will isuss my issue withe dr.

      i have been denied intimacy , the ability to havr childern because no dr would help me.
      i have asked for sedation, to no avail!

      i hope more women stand up and say no to pap smears that violate them.

      thanks so much for helping!

    • That’s a good thing, although I don’t get why a woman would think there’d be a safety difference between a male & female staff- not only could a woman have the same inclinations toward women as a man would (being lesbian/bisexual), but a woman can DO attacks on other women.

      Not to say that the people on here are disputing that, it’s just that it suprises me that so many people seem to thing “Oh, same sex- that’s the answer.”

      We’ve talked about women seeing other women as their territory & that they’d know how a woman thinks so it’d be easier for her to get inside that woman’s head. Also how people act as though what someone does to someone else that has a similar anatomy is the same as doing it to themselves.

      It’s good that that woman got what she was after, but I still don’t think making decisions & getting promises really means much in a medical setting. It’s easy for someone to make promises that they don’t intend to keep- or if they feel that it’s not something that actually guides anything.

      • Funny you should bring that up! This is the woman Misty helped in that testimonial.

        Ironically I visited an old biochemist friend of mine the other night. He wanted to meet our new baby and I told him I don’t intend to have any more. When I said why he asked some interesting questions.

        Q.) Would you rather have a gay man examine you like that?

        A.) If it had to be a man, then yes.

        Q.) How would you feel about a female lesbian gynecologist examining you like that?

        A.) I’ve never been hurt by a woman sexually.

        Q.) Would you rather have the female lesbian gynecologist, or the gay male gynecologist examine you?

        A.) The female.

        He then asked why, since she likes lady parts. I told him it wasn’t a question of what she liked or was thinking, my life experiences have left me with a deep dark fear of men. Even my boyfriend can’t just come and surprise tickle me, I might knock him on his butt out of pure defensive reflex.

        It wasn’t a question of safety, it was the question of FEELING safe and not belittled, looked down on, and treated like I had no right to have a child cause I couldn’t do something as simple and mundane as let some strange dude touch and look at my mother bits, which happen to also be my private bits. No amount of safety measures would ever change the fact that they were trying to force me to be seen by a man when I am clearly terrified of them. I also had a doctor’s note stating that I have a valid disability linked to that gender getting close to my private parts and this disability needed to be taken into regard. The hospital all but laughed in my face and told me to suck it up and deal with it, I’d have felt better if they had just hit me with a 2×4 after all the passive aggressive battering they did.

        I hope you at least understand why this female feels there would be a difference. I swiped at the delivery nurse cause she didn’t give a heads up before touching my belly, I also swiped at the midwife for practically the same thing. I’m pretty certain if it was a man in their position, I would have completely freaked out and possibly hurt them, hurt myself, or hurt my unborn daughter (as she was still inside me) while fighting him and any nurses that stepped in. I didn’t have an epidural on purpose for fear I couldn’t run away if I had to.

      • Well, yeah- in your case there would be a difference. I figure you should be able to get a staff with a gender of your choosing, I just also figure that people (and it does seem to be a common thing) shouldn’t instantly equate “same gender” with “no problem.” Not to say that this is the case with you, just that it’s something I noticed.

        Not to be condescending, but a woman probably has a better chance of outfighting another woman or at least intimidating her. Most men will only back down if another man is involved- other than that, he needs to be defeated.

        Hospitals aren’t always very hospitable. Isn’t it odd how unconcerned with the suffering of others they can be? That’s like a firefighter that wants people to get burns. It’s just antithetical.

        I also notice how they thing anything they’re doing isn’t a problem. Even when it’s plainly pointed out to them, they don’t feel that this information is absent. It’s like the idea that something ceases to exist, despite its existance.

  7. Ditto! I don’t trust anyone except my boyfriend to touch me and even that took a while lol….I think the reason women feel more comfortable w a female gyn (at least from my POV) isn’t the fact that a female is less likely to look at it in a sexual way but more the fact of our genetic makeup (in the psych sense) what are men meant to do? 2 things :Hunt and f*ck! Men are genetically programmed to kill/screw anything that moves. Women are also to some extent but we are programmed more for caretaking and protecting. Not to say that men cant be compassionate caregivers or that there’s never been a psychotic female killer. Simply the fact that MEN ARE PREDATORS and no amount time/money/brains/degrees can EVER change that. So it goes against our instincts as females to put ourselves in a vulnerable position around a predator (aka man) and that is why anyone who says “It’s part of being a woman” is completely full of sh*t

    • Well, I disagree on some of that:
      (1)Humans are well-designed as predators (specifically, persistance hunters), but that doesn’t mean that it’s a constant drive.
      (2)Same thing with screwing around & things along those dynamic lines (physiological overlap).
      (3)Fucking & fighting are different things to some men. Not getting a hard-on from pounding someone’s head against the pavement is one example, but so is not seeing sex as an imposed affront. Seeing things as a collaboration instead of a conquest is a point.
      (4)I think a lot of men think “Why the hell WOULD she want to roll around with a guy?” because he’s straight & he forgets to factor in that a straight woman would have different attractions than a straight man.

      I get where you’re coming from, but not everything is linked to the predatory drives- even if it IS jokingly called “the hunt” quite frequently. Actually, I was reading an interesting book that addresses this somewhat (Indigineous Knowledge by Pierotti). The short version, and not that you always see this with Christianity or that it’s the only religion where this shows up, but there’s a lot of sheep & lamb references in the Bible which seem to have been taken a bit too literally. People started looking at themselves as literal “prey” creatures. Then they started seeing the “hunter” creatures as enemies & started going after them in the woods (which is massively out of character), and did the same thing in society. Anyone that had any “teeth/claws/edge” or any survivability was held in the same esteem. Then it turns into a situation where everyone’s looking to present an image of harmlessness & no one really knows when that’s just an act (“Oh, I couldn’t hurt anyone- so why not let me get a little closer? And closer? And a little closer still…”), which makes everyone paranoid, as does the general vunerability. When something gets launched at someone, they’re not as able to do anything back because they’ve basically dismantled their counteractive ability or someone else has hobbled it. Sometimes the paranoia generated from this causes the same problem- like when someone’s looking at a big guy in a bar & thinking about what he could potentially do in a fight, then they attack him first out of fear.

      Anyway, just thought I should mention these things.

      • I don’t necessarily think of the hunter dichtomy personally however I understand full well why women would feel this way. I have also heard of men refusing female doctors for routine rectal exams so the preference for same gender choice in healthcare settings is not purely a female phenomenon.
        I would only ever access gynaecological health care if I was experiencing symptoms but there is no way I would choose a male for this. For me, it boils down to simple biology – men are biologically programmed to be attracted to women and women are biologically predisposed to be attracted to men, and no amount of degrees, education or social awareness can change that. Add to that the fact that we live in a culture where the female body is largely sexualised, and to me, it follows that it makes sense that women may feel objectified or vulnerable in these situations.

        I’ve read up on a lot of research by evolutionary psychologists and one in particular has used comparative research – contrasting some tribal egalitarian African societies with modern western cultures – to convincingly suggest that a lot of gender differences that we in the West perceive to be biological are actually social constructs. I agree with this and it might be partly why (as other contributors have suggested), the healthcare of the less developed countries seem to be more rooted in compassion and care perhaps? I don’t think all men practising healthcare are a danger to women but given the type of society that we live in, I find it strange that women are seemingly constantly warned about the dangers of stranger rapes or date rapes for example, yet the situation where a woman might annually strip for a male doctor, exposing her most private areas and placing herself in a vulnerable and degrading position, is not only accepted but actively encouraged. There is also a power differential here which can enable and justify the doctor to act opportunistically, as is evidenced by the amount of unneccessary gyn procedures carried out by them, particularly in the US.

    • Its not natural its a MSN made idea that woman need theses exams. A period is part of being a woman not theses exams. BTW how did woman live long bf gyn exams were thought of? Lol

      • What’s an MSN made up idea? If it came off like I was saying the shit doctors pull is natural, I really didn’t mean it that way.

    • Some facts about male sexuality (complicated subject). From research studies:

      1. Males can capture and recall literally thousands of pornographic images. You are being recorded, if only by the mind’s eye.

      2. Males are programmed to sexualize circumstances where power differentials exist between males and females. Even if we don’t act, it is sexually titillating. I don’t quite believe the research that says that 1 in 3 males would rape if they were guaranteed to get away with it but it is north of 1 in 10 in my estimation (4 years leading a fraternity led me to this conclusion.. we always had our eyes on some members because of this).

      3. Males will stare female breasts before looking at their eyes (i.e. object than person).

      4. Male OB GYNs lead the physician misconduct tables. Two recent but different cases of older, well-tenured OB GYNs taking photos of young female patients without their knowledge.

      5. Male OB GYNs practice differently than female OB GYNs. 7 in 10 male OB GYNs will tell their patients that a pelvic exam is a “screen for ovarian cancer”. First, there is no screen for ovarian cancer. Second, a healthy female ovary is impossible to palpate and nearly impossible to image (it’s an almond protected by huge muscle groups). Third, ovarian cancer is rare and afflict older women (mean age at diagnosis is 66).

      I could go on and on but I think the point here is that if males are going to play in the Women’s Wellness game, women should know something about what they are dealing with. I personally believe the industry was created by male doctors for the benefit of male doctors using only the pretense of healthcare. When you realize that there is no oversight of physicians but their peers (professional societies), the picture starts coming into focus.

      • I definitely agree that this appears to be a very paternalised culture within the healthcare industry, akin to some sort of old boys network, which prevents any sort of meaningful scrutiny or accountability of their activities. And they are also extremely defensive when asked to justify the practices of annual pelvic exams in the face of contrary ACOG guidelines and when their choice to practice gynaecology as males is called into question.

        We live in a culture and society where unfortunately, the female body is sexualised, rather than seen as a functioning human body. This preoccupation with the female body is not universally mirrorred across all cultures such as tribal egalitarian African societies. My point is that given the type of society that we live in, I find it incredulous that women here are constantly warned about dangers like stranger rapes, yet undergoing constant pelvics for a male doctor, while semi-naked and placed in an incredibly vulnerable and degrading position, isn’t seen as potentially dangerous.

  8. I am the father of 3 boys and I love my wife dearly. I thought I was engaged during her pregnancies (I was present for all births, ultrasounds, etc.) but years after my son’s birth I learned more and more about her treatment and I am angrier than all get up.

    Her OB GYN practice convinced her after 10 months from the pill that we had a fertility issue. She pressured me to have my swimmers studied (just fine thank you). Once she stopped jumping up after sex, we could have had a soccer team. The truth is that OB GYNs create work for themselves by scaring women (who then scare their husbands). So pissed…they worked my wife up as a fertility case which degraded her and they knew better (or they cannot read).

    One of my personal faves is the “congratulations, you’re pregnant…you’re getting a pap smear”. What? WTF?

    I didn’t know that during all 3 pregnancies she received countless pelvic exams despite the absence of any data justifying such. Oddly enough her mixed gender practice found the female OB GYNs not doing it but the males insisting. Gee…who would have guessed?

    During all 3 births, there were more hands up her coochie that I care to remember. One male OB GYN would come in to assess dialation and 30 seconds later someone else would do the same thing. Don’t you a-holes talk to each other? How the hell can my wife possibly concentrate when she’s being so constantly / consistently violated? Newsflash…group glove boxes are a great source of contamination.

    During the first-birth, my son had flipped (butt-breech). He got a rectal exam (not good for anyone to have fecal matter floating around). The amazing thing is despite the weekly visits and the violation, no one had picked up on the basics (which could have been dangerous to all concerned).

    No doctors in the US are instructed in breech births anymore as in Europe. Really eager to cut… emergency C. It’s like taking your car in for a repair and having them swap out the engine to do it. Overkill.

    During one birth, 8 hours in, a male OB GYN from her practice came in, stuck his hand up and said the child was easily turned and therefore small. Reality check… his head circumference was 2.5 cm above average and he was born at 8 pounds. What an ass-hat.

    I could go on and on. The way women are treated during their pregnancy deprives them of their personhood and much of their joy.

    • I agree. I noticed latly there is a push to get young woman to frez there eggs. I have seen obs on tv scaring woman that If they wait till after 30 they will be sad they wont be able to get pregnant. i think this is a scare tactic another reson to get woman up in sturrips to collet more money. i cant tell you how many older woman i know how got pregnant just fine. thats not to say infertility does not happen. but to scare all young woman into frezzing seems way over the top.

    • male doctors have treated me like i didnt know my own body. they seem so out of touch with how woman feel.

      • they were the ones that always acted like i didnt know if i was pregnant even tho there was no way i was. forced preg test and calculateing my last period on his hand even after i said i was a virgin.

      • There ARE in touch, they just go for things like that & so does their general profession.

    • I’ve noticed American women have a lot of pelvic exams during their pregnancies, that doesn’t happen here or in the UK. (and in lots of other countries)
      Also, a pap test when you’re pregnant is even more unreliable and more likely to be “abnormal”, this can cause a lot of worry and lead to unnecessary colposcopy/biopsy. Pap tests should never be carried out during pregnancy, you couldn’t rely on the result either way.
      I think the extra work must be appealing for some doctors (re-testing, colposcopy etc.) and others see it as a good time to coerce/capture women into elective cancer screening.
      It’s horrible that pregnancy and childbirth is so often traumatic and degrading for women, I think this is why the medical profession and others think nothing of pushing pap testing etc. and I’ve often heard that women need to “get used” to “intimate” exams given we have children. (or might have children) There is absolutely no need for most of the intimate intrusion on pregnant women or those in labour and delivery.

      A non-invasive alternative to the pap test was a long time coming because IMO, so many do not respect our bodily privacy and dignity. (Most women will never be offered HPV self-testing anyway, and they’ll continue to do pap tests, biopsies etc. on HPV- women for as long as they turn up and hand over their bodies) We now know that HPV- women cannot benefit from pap testing, that’s about 95% of women aged 30 to 60 and we should be doing pap or HPV tests on those under 30. (it just leads to lots of worry and over-treatment)

      Also, some of your doctors are going to ridiculous lengths to justify the “well-woman” exam, clearly, they have no problem putting women through invasive, embarrassing, uncomfortable and unnecessary exams that simply risk their health, they now rely on the money, I’ve heard this exam generates billions for your doctors.
      Sadly, childbirth is often a very medical and degrading experience. The Birth Trauma sites is the stuff of nightmares, no wonder some women end up with PTSD after giving birth.

      • Americans are weird like that, plain & simple. It’s not the only place where that general type of style is prevalent, but I’ve found that in America it’s VERY common for someone to have real issues with other people’s personal autonomy with anything. I’ve said it before & it definitely seems to apply with this sort of thing: that people that are inclined to crawl into other people’s skin figuratively tend to make somewhat literal attempts.

        There’s a high degree of “pindoism” here that might have something to do with it. “Pindo” is a slur for Americans that conveys a quality of being this hapless creature that’s very dependant on all kinds of gadgets & gizmos. I think that condition is strongly rooted to the general urge to induce. Whether it’s trying to operate equipment or operate people, there’s a common trend of tying to “RUN” something.

        There’s plenty of other possible things & I don’t know what the root cause of being fucked-up is (maybe that IS the ground floor on that?), but it seems America is one of those countries. I’d imagine various arguments like “it’s worse in Saudi Arabia” or something come up, but that doesn’t actually dissolve any problems. That’s another common thing that I’ve noticed: backing-up problems by referencing other problems. Sometimes it’s not even a deliberate thing, it can just a reaction to a problem. I guess it’s a lot of things at once. Simple diversion, for one. There’s using something that is in itself true AS the argumentive reply so it’s supposed to now be unarguable. Putting a fact in the “argument slot” & now the idea is that someone can’t argue anymore. Also, I guess it could be setting things up so that someone seems like a spoiled brat for complaining about a situation when there are different situations that are more intense.

  9. I am happy that I saw a birth squaring for the first time on American t.v last note. Its a show called, call the midwife. On pbs its based on midwifes in 1960s London. There was no intrusive doctor shoving his hands inside the woman only a midwife looking on.

  10. I saw a show were a woman went into labor and had a edge to squat and push . the am balance came and her husband and medics were yelling at her to get on her back.vbacvbac it made me madd.

  11. Kleigh: I’m sorry, but I don’t get all of what you’re saying. Is it that she was trying to do things in a way that worked out more “ergonomically” & they were trying to sabotage her?

    Speaking of which, I had been watching something on the news (it was on New 12 Long Island, specifically) that was mentioning this subject & how there’s a lot of fear about it. I didn’t catch the beginning of it, but it sounded like something toward natural birthing & not having medical personnel impose themselves on the situation. It’s May 7 now- but it was either today, yesterday, or the day before. Can’t find it on the website, but there did seem to be something.

  12. Remember that disturbing YouTube video showing the forced episiotomy of a labouring woman? Well she sued the obstetrician and has won the first round!
    It’s a heartening win for all the women harmed by these entrenched misogynistic practices, and pressured into silence to just accept gynaecological abuse as normal.
    An earlier interview with Kimberly Turbin

    • I keep saying it & I keep meaning it: These people should just be conquered. No arguments, no convincing them, no coaxing, just blind override of the other person. Truly Roman-esque behavior with no concern for the “case they would make.” Too bad so many people have a universally bad view of that, in my opinion. I guess they worry about what would happen if a bad guy did that in a different situation?

      I really don’t get why people are so open-minded to doctors causing problems. There are so many people that seem like they’d let the doctor cut their kidney out & eat it, yet they don’t think well of it when someone so much as gives them a dirty look or calls them a “human resource.”

      Whether the baby dies is not important to what seems like the majority of people in this country- they’d figure out excuses for the hospital staff killing the child if that’s what they up & did. If these people work their will, other people cut from the same cloth like it- no matter what it is. If they try to work their will & things don’t work out, they feel traumatized.

  13. This is good news from a post on ImprovingBirth.org. The woman was given an unwanted episiotomy when giving birth, spent many hours searching for a lawyer who would take her case, finally made it to court, and now the case can go forward:
    “Victory!!!! LA County Superior Court Judge Benny C. Osorio has ruled that Turbin v. Abbassi was properly and timely plead as a battery lawsuit. The judge was not interested in the other side’s insinuations that the episiotomy was necessary and a decision for the doctor to make. Judge Osorio inquired why there were so many people in the courtroom, and Improving Birth President Dawn Thompson promptly informed his clerk that this is an unprecedented case of national interest about the legal rights of childbearing people, and that the women in the courtroom represented a cross section of Kimberly’s supporters.” https://www.facebook.com/ImprovingBirth/posts/1125937984146355

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