“[T]he women in this study were often not given their basic rights and dignities in the hospital. Despite the women’s self-education prior to labour, it was rendered useless, especially when their rights to even the most basic forms of consent were disregarded. Women in our study were often ignored and/or silenced, and they were given what we referred to as false dilemmas, which served to circumscribe and unnecessarily delimit their range of options. Additionally, hospital staff, doctors, and birthing women’s families and friends must understand the importance of positive relationality for birthing women. The women in our study were keenly aware of the feelings and emotions of those around them; consequently, the people surrounding a birthing woman must ensure that they are appropriately supporting and empowering her.
Although we believe that hospitals can change their climates in order to prioritise the desires, health, and empowerment of women, it remains true that medical institutions are reflections of the larger culture in which they are embedded. For this reason, it is imperative that we work towards stronger advocacy for pregnant and birthing women’s agency, positive relationality, and respect. This includes critically examining and challenging traditional and contemporary medical practices influenced by our cultural perceptions of pregnancy, labour, and birth.”
– Alison Happel-Parkins and Katharina A. Azim.
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