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The CDC says women face discrimination and mistreatment from maternity care providers


One in five women nationwide report negative experiences with their healthcare providers during and following pregnancy.

One in five women nation-wide report negative experiences with their healthcare providers during and following pregnancy. A report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looks into mistreatment such as disrespecting a person’s privacy, ignoring requests for help, verbal abuse, and discrimination. CDC Chief Medical Officer Debra Houry says that can make patients less likely to speak up about concerns and increases the risk for dangerous complications.

“We’ve heard too many heartbreaking stories of women, particularly Black women, who have known something was wrong with their pregnancy and voiced it, but were not heard and died as a result,” Houry says.

Instances of mistreatment were more likely to be reported among racial minorities as well as among people who rely on government subsidized health insurance.

The report shows 30% of Black women, and 54% of women with no insurance or who rely on government subsidized insurance said they faced mistreatment from their provider.

Houry says that mistreatment could lead to dangerous outcomes. “We do know from this study that women are reluctant to report their concerns and we do know that as a result of not reporting concerns, there may be an increased risk for pregnancy related complications for both mom and baby."

The report shows 45% of women said they held back from bringing up concerns or discussing questions with their healthcare provider. Houry says another worry is that a negative experience could be one more barrier making it less likely that pregnant patients will seek care.

“We know that discrimination during prenatal care may be associated with reductions in seeking care," she says.

In Florida, data from the March of Dimes shows 23% of pregnant people do not receive adequate prenatal care.

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