What is respectful maternal care?
Trigger warning: abuse
Having a good experience at a healthcare visit is very important. “Respectful maternal care” is the type of care you should be getting during pregnancy and birth. You should feel respected, listened to, and valued when you are gettin care.
The World Health Organization says that respectful maternal care is a human right. 30% of Black and Hispanic women who give birth in hospitals feel that they were treated poorly because there was a difference in opinion between themselves and their caregivers about the baby’s delivery.
What does respectful care look like? It should be:
- Friendly care
- This means your care providers are kind and understanding. They make you feel welcome and valued.
- Abuse-free care
- Of course, your provider should never verbally or physically abuse you. But also, your provider should respect your decisions. They should not try to talk you into doing something that you don’t understand or don’t want to do.
- Timely care
- Providers don’t have a lot of time to spend with each patient. But, your provider should give you their full attention and make sure you have time to ask questions.
- Discrimination-free care
- Your provider should not judge you for who you are, or treat you poorly based on your race, the language you speak, your sexual orientation, what type of health insurance you have, or any other reason.
If you feel like your feelings are not being understood or your provider is not taking your pain seriously, there are steps you can take to make sure your health is being taken care of properly. Our recent blog post has some tips for how to advocate for yourself at your healthcare facility:
- Doing research before your visit and coming ready with questions
- Keeping a journal of your symptoms to share with your provider
- Listening to your body when you feel discomfort during a procedure and making it clear to your provider
- Saying no to treatment you’re not comfortable with
- Filing a complaint if you’re being disrespected
Moms can also check out the Irth app to have an empowering pregnancy and parenting experience.