Violence in the delivery room: midwives and doctors as perpetrators

Mental and physical violence in the delivery room is still considered a social taboo. But it exists, as numerous field reports on the Internet and in the literature prove. In most cases, however, those affected make up for these negative birth experiences with themselves. Anne broke with this taboo and reported on her negative experiences in a moving video.

“You still look way too good to be in so much pain”

Some women have experienced it: violence in the delivery room. Negative birth experiences can be traumatic. Women who have lived through something like this never forget. So does Anne, who reports extensively on her experiences in this emotional video by blogger Julia Maria Klein on her blog “Glückskind”:

The psychological violence that Anne had to experience in the delivery room leaves you speechless. The clinic staff treated her disrespectfully and didn’t take her needs seriously, Anne says. The midwives evidently whispered about the mother-to-be and made it clear that they found Anne to be hysterical and oversensitive.

When the expectant mother’s contractions came ever closer together and she was in severe pain, she asked the midwife to be taken to the delivery room. She, in turn, just grinned at Anne and told her that she still looked far too good for being in so much pain.

But the worst thing was that Anne’s husband wasn’t allowed to be with her almost the whole time, the alleged reason: the visiting hours had expired. When the mother-to-be asked if her husband could be called, one of the midwives replied: “We don’t know what your husband is supposed to do here, he can’t take your pain away either.”

Anne tried to push away her negative experiences. However, when she first spoke to her midwife about it, tears came to her eyes.

Violence in the delivery room: Many women have negative experiences

Violence and childbirth, don’t they go together? In experience reports, whether on the internet or currently also in the advice literature, there are many voices that show: physical and mental violence in delivery rooms is unfortunately not uncommon.

It is not known exactly how many women experienced violence in the delivery room. The organization “Human Rights in Childbirth” estimates that 40 to 50 percent of women are affected by psychological and physical violence before, during or after childbirth. The WHO (World Health Organization) has also officially recognized that violence in the delivery room is by no means a marginal issue.

Violence in the delivery room can have different faces. Mental anguish, nasty comments, being laughed at or not taken seriously, as Anne experienced, for example, is just part of it. This also includes physical violence, such as hasty caesarean sections, unnecessary episiotomy, brutal vaginal examinations or refused painkillers.

Why is there violence in the delivery room?

It is difficult, if not impossible, to answer the question of why violence occurs in the delivery room. Only assumptions can be made as to why this can happen. For example, the job cuts in German clinics, which is increasing and can thus encourage violence during childbirth. Too many patients for too few staff is currently a sad state of affairs in Germany: Doctors who are forced to work too long; Midwives who can hardly afford the liability sum of the insurance companies . The anger and frustration that arises can quickly turn into rough treatment.

Often, however, it is also a lack of awareness of how bad certain words and interventions can be for the woman giving birth – especially during childbirth, when women are in an extremely vulnerable state.

Of course, these assumptions in no way excuse any violence. However, they can definitely explain violence in the delivery room and should therefore be examined critically.

Roses Revolution Day: Solidarity with those affected

Many affected mothers often feel lonely with their feelings. To demonstrate that they are not alone, the so-called Roses Revolution Day takes place every year on November 25th. On this international day of action, women who have experienced violence during childbirth lay roses in the delivery room as a common sign. An action that encourages those affected and draws attention to the problem of violence during childbirth.

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