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One in Five Women Report Mistreatment in Their Maternity Care, CDC Study Finds


One in Five Women Report Mistreatment in Their Maternity Care, CDC Study Finds

A recent CDC study reveals that one in five pregnant women experienced mistreatment during maternity care, with higher rates among Black, Hispanic, and multiracial women, as well as among those with public or no insurance. These findings highlight the need for more respectful maternity care to better address pregnancy-related complications and prevent maternal mortality in the U.S.

A new CDC study finds that one in five pregnant women say they were mistreated during their maternity care. While 20% may seem staggering enough, mistreatment rates were higher among Black, Hispanic, and multiracial women. Those with public insurance or no insurance reported higher rates of mistreatment as well, compared to women who had private insurance.

As many as 30% of Black women were mistreated, according to the study, while rates of mistreatment for Hispanic and multiracial women were 29% and 28%, respectively. The report included complaints of discrimination with respect to age, weight, and income. Discrimination also varied by race/ethnicity, the study reported.

For the study, the CDC analyzed data from 2,402 women who responded to an April 2023 Porter Novelli View Moms survey about the quality of care they received during labor and delivery. Some of the most commonly reported types of mistreatment were: 

  • Receiving no response to requests for help
  • Being shouted at or scolded
  • Not having their physical privacy protected
  • Being threatened that treatment would be withheld or being made to accept unwanted treatment

Almost half of the women surveyed refrained from asking certain questions about their maternity care, often for fear of embarrassment, feeling their healthcare provider was rushed, or believing their provider would think they were being difficult. Such a lack of confidence is disheartening because it is important for patients to feel comfortable sharing concerns with their healthcare providers, which could lead to more timely and accurate attention to potential complications. 

Respectful maternity care can contribute to reducing pregnancy-related complications as well as maternal deaths. 2021 data published by the CDC found that there were 32.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in the U.S. For Black women, the maternal mortality rate is more than double, at 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births. Millions of American women lack access to maternity care, according to a 2022 March of Dimes report, and even those who do have access don’t always survive. According to a study published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, maternal deaths across the U.S. more than doubled in the last two decades across all racial and ethnic groups, with rates highest among Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women.

To help combat this trend, the CDC has launched its “Hear Her” campaign to assist medical providers, as well as pregnant women, in preventing pregnancy-related deaths by sharing potentially life-saving messages about urgent warning signs.

Did Your Loved One Die During Labor or Delivery and You Suspect Medical Negligence?

If you believe your loved one died due to medical negligence during her pregnancy, labor, childbirth or the postpartum period, consider speaking to an experienced and compassionate birth injury attorney. The attorneys at Grant & Eisenhofer can help you understand any potential legal options you may have and answer your questions during this difficult time.

Call us at (877) 262-9767 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We represent families nationwide and have offices in Chicago IL, Baltimore MD, New York NY, and Wilmington DE.