In the United States, one in five women reported that they were mistreated during maternity care.
One in three people reported discrimination
A survey of 2400 mothers, released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday, found that factors such as age, weight, or income can affect pregnancy.
Women of color also reported higher rates. About 30 percent of Black women, Hispanic women, and women of multiracial backgrounds said that they were mistreated. Forty percent of Black women and women of multiracial backgrounds reported discrimination based on race, ethnicity, income level, health insurance type, or differences in opinion with caregivers.
Health care providers who ignore their patients or refuse to help them, or fail to respond in a timely fashion to an urgent call for assistance are among the most common complaints of mistreatment. Women have reported being yelled at, scolded or having their privacy violated. They also report that health care providers threatened to stop treatment or forced them to accept medical procedures they didn't want.
Nearly half of women who responded to the survey said that they were reluctant to speak with a provider about their concerns or questions. This is a disturbing statistic. Patients cited the most common reason as believing that their symptoms were normal.
Other reasons include: women who were told by family or friends that the issue was "normal" during pregnancy; women who feared being viewed as a difficult person.
Others said that they waited because they thought their provider was in a hurry, they didn't think their concern was significant enough to warrant additional attention or they were afraid to speak about it.
The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among industrialized countries. The rates have been steadily rising in recent years with an apparent temporary but sharp spike during the pandemic.
Black and Native American women face a particularly high level of risk. These women have a maternal mortality rate that is two to three time higher than white women and Hispanics.
80% of deaths, according to studies, are preventable.
C.D.C. designed the new survey. Porter Novelli Communications, a communications consultancy, conducted the survey. It included 2,400 mothers with children aged 5 and older who answered online questions between April 24th and April 30th.
However, the survey did not represent a national sample of women giving birth. As a result, its usefulness is limited. The findings do, however, suggest that there are serious problems with the care given to women who are pregnant and those giving birth.
C.D.C. officials said that birthing women deserve respectable health care. This is strongly related to positive outcomes. Officials said.
If you feel that your concerns aren't being heard or you are mistreated, you will be less likely to seek future treatment, said Dr. Wanda Barfield. She is the director of the division of reproductive healthcare at the agency.
"And for women who are at higher risk, or have a concern which may be life-threatening, if they're reluctant to ask for help -- and this study indicates that nearly half are -- they could be at risk of a very negative outcome."