A new scale for measuring respect during maternal care and childbirth has shown that women with medical social issues are most at risk of being mistreated during their pregnancy.
A new 14-item scale has been developed by Canadian researchers in association with women in order to measure respect shown to pregnant women during their maternity care.
The Mothers on Respect (MOR) index was devised as a means of measuring quality, safety, and human rights in childbirth. According to the researchers who devised the Index, it can be used to measure “women’s experiences of respect and self-determination when interacting with their maternity care providers”.
The majority of the over 1,600 Canadian women who participated in the survey reported that they felt comfortable asking their maternity care providers questions and that their providers respected their personal preferences. However, fewer women were comfortable declining care that their providers offered, and 10% of women reported feeling coerced into accepting their providers’ suggestions.
Women who received maternity care from a midwife tended to have higher MORi scores compared to those who saw a family physician or obstetrician. Women with self-reported risk factors (high blood pressure, diabetes, compromised fetal status, depression, lack of social support, or unstable housing) were more likely to score in the bottom 10th percentile of the MOR index, compared to women with no reported risk factors, while women who reported one or more of these medical or social risk factors during pregnancy were four times as likely to have low MORi. Similarly, it was seen that women who were recent immigrants or refugees, or had a history of substance use, incarceration, poverty and/or homelessness, were more likely to have very low MORi scores.
The researchers suggest that implementation of MORi into institutional quality assurance systems could support quality improvement at both unit and regional levels by comparing respectful treatment across birth facilities.
“All women have a basic right to respectful maternity care. Educating women about this right and helping them to advocate for themselves can be a powerful tool to combat mistreatment. The global health community must be ready to support women around the world as they demand higher quality maternal health care and assist national health systems as they prepare to deliver those services,” commented Sarah Hodin, Project Coordinator II, Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in an article for the Maternal Health Task Force.
See the full study HERE: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352827317300174