Monday December 9, 2019

Study Finds High Incidences of Abuse of New Mothers During Childbirth

The study also found a high number of caesarean sections, vaginal exams and other procedures being performed without the patient's consent

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Abuse, Mothers, Childbirth
FILE -- A nurse-midwife speaks to pregnant women. A study published in The Lancet found more than one-third of new mothers in four poor countries are abused during childbirth. VOA

More than one-third of new mothers in four poor countries are abused during childbirth, a study published Wednesday in the medical journal The Lancet.

The study, carried out in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria by the World Health Organization, found that 42% of the women experienced physical or verbal abuse or some form of stigma or discrimination at maternity health facilities.

The study also found a high number of caesarean sections, vaginal exams and other procedures being performed without the patient’s consent.

Of the 2,016 women observed for the study, 14% said they were either hit, slapped or punched during childbirth. Some 38% of the women said they were subjected to verbal abuse, most often by being shouted at, mocked or scolded.

Abuse, Mothers, Childbirth
The study, carried out in Ghana, Guinea, Myanmar and Nigeria by the World Health Organization, found that 42% of the women experienced physical or verbal abuse or some form of stigma. Pixabay

An alarming 75% had episiotomies performed without consent. The procedure involves surgically enlarging the opening of the vagina.

The authors of the study urged officials to hold those who mistreat women during childbirth accountable. They also urged the governments to put into place clear policies and sufficient resources to ensure that women have a safe place to give birth.

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Among the specific steps proposed by the study are: making sure all medical procedures are performed only after getting an informed consent; allowing the patient to have a companion of their choice in the delivery room; redesigning maternity wards to offer the maximum privacy; and making sure no health facility tolerates instances of physical or verbal abuse. (VOA)

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Children Born to Women with Hyperemesis may be at Increased Risk of Autism

This could lead to dangerous dehydration and inadequate nutrition during pregnancy

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Mothers, Morning Sickness, Pregnancy
Affected women experience intense nausea and are unable to keep down food and fluids. Pixabay

Children whose mothers had hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness, during pregnancy were 53 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, a study said.

Hyperemesis gravidarum occurs in less than five per cent of pregnancies. Affected women experience intense nausea and are unable to keep down food and fluids.

This could lead to dangerous dehydration and inadequate nutrition during pregnancy.

“This study is important because it suggests that children born to women with hyperemesis may be at an increased risk of autism,” said the study’s lead author Darios Getahun, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation.

Mothers, Morning Sickness, Pregnancy
Hyperemesis gravidarum occurs in less than five per cent of pregnancies. Pixabay

“Awareness of this association may create the opportunity for earlier diagnosis and intervention in children at risk of autism,” Getahun said,

For the study published in the American Journal of Perinatology, researchers reviewed the electronic health records of nearly 500,000 pregnant women and their children born between 1991-2014 in Southern California.

They compared children whose mothers had a diagnosis of hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy to those whose mothers did not.

The researchers found that exposure to hyperemesis gravidarum was associated with increased risk of autism when the disease was diagnosed during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, but not when it was diagnosed only in the third trimester.

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Exposure to the disease was associated with the risk of autism regardless of the severity of the mother’s hyperemesis gravidarum, the study said.

The results are consistent with the hypothesis that women experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum have a poor nutritional intake, which might, in turn lead to potential long-term neurodevelopment impairment in their children. (IANS)