One in 5 Women Reported Mistreatment While Receiving Maternity Care

Twenty percent of women surveyed reported experiences of mistreatment during pregnancy and delivery care, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report. Mistreatment during maternity care was higher among Black (30%), Hispanic (29%), and multiracial (27%) women.

image credit: CDC

Women with no insurance (28%) or public insurance (26%) at the time of delivery experienced more mistreatment during maternity care than women with private insurance (16%).

The most common types of mistreatment reported were:

  • Receiving no response to requests for help
  • Being shouted at or scolded
  • Not having their physical privacy protected
  • Being threatened with withholding treatment or made to accept unwanted treatment

Twenty-nine percent of women reported discrimination during maternity care. The most common reasons for reported discrimination were age, weight, and income and varied by race/ethnicity.

Black (40%), multiracial (39%), and Hispanic (37%) women reported the highest rates of discrimination. Experiences of racial discrimination have previously been associated with pregnancy complications.

Nearly half (45%) of women reported holding back from asking questions or discussing concerns with their provider during maternity care. The most common reasons included:

  • Thinking, or being told by friends or family, what they were feeling was normal
  • Not wanting to make a big deal about it or being embarrassed to talk about it
  • Thinking their healthcare provider would think they’re being difficult
  • Thinking their healthcare provider seemed rushed
  • Not feeling confident that they knew what they were talking about

Effective communication among healthcare providers and patients can build trust and contribute to high-quality care. It is important for patients to feel comfortable sharing health concerns with their providers, which could lead to more accurate and timely treatment for pregnancy-related complications.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here