Obstetric violence may include:
- Untimely and ineffective attention of obstetric emergencies;
- Forcing the woman to give birth in a supine position, with legs raised, when the necessary means to perform a vertical delivery are available;
- Impeding the early attachment of the child with his/her mother without a medical cause thus preventing the early attachment and blocking the possibility of holding, nursing or breast-feeding immediately after birth;
- Altering the natural process of low-risk delivery by using acceleration techniques, without obtaining voluntary, expressed and informed consent of the woman;
- Performing delivery via cesarean section, when natural childbirth is possible, without obtaining voluntary, expressed, and informed consent from the woman
But doesn't it?
I can certainly think of occasions when I would say obstetric violence was inflicted on a woman. If I was traumatised by watching, how on earth would the woman and her family be feeling?!
What I think is so interesting about this legislation is that it talks about carrying out procedures without a woman's consent. As midwives, I am sure we pride ourselves that we would never do this. But what about the times we get consent from a woman when she is in no state to really think for herself...is this obstetric violence? What about the times we get consent by using our power of health professional...bamboozling her with science and "I know best...I am the midwife" attitude...is that obstetric violence?" What about the times we give information in a biased way to get a woman's consent without giving her the full story...is that obstetric violence?
Food for thought.
The full details can be found in the article: International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics Volume 111, Issue 3, Pages 201-290 (December 2010).
Image: 'Tears II'