Associations between mistreatment by a provider during childbirth and maternal health complications in Uttar Pradesh, India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Objectives: This study assesses associations between mistreatment by a provider during childbirth and maternal complications in Uttar Pradesh, India. Methods: Cross-sectional survey data were collected from women (N = 2639) who had delivered at 68 public health facilities in Uttar Pradesh, participating in a quality of care study. Participants were recruited from April to July 2015 and surveyed on demographics, mistreatment during childbirth (measure developed for this study, Cronbach’s alpha = 0.70), and maternal health complications. Regression models assessed associations between mistreatment during childbirth and maternal complications, at delivery and postpartum, adjusting for demographics and pregnancy complications. Results: Participants were aged 17–48 years, and 30.3% were scheduled caste/scheduled tribe. One in five (20.9%) reported mistreatment by their provider during childbirth, including discrimination and abuse; complications during delivery (e.g., obstructed labor) and postpartum (e.g., excessive bleeding) were reported by 45.8 and 41.5% of women, respectively. Health providers at delivery included staff nurses (81.8%), midwives (14.0%), and physicians (2.2%); Chi square analyses indicate that women were significantly more likely to report mistreatment when their provider was a nurse rather than a physician or midwife. Women reporting mistreatment by a provider during childbirth had higher odds of complications at delivery (AOR = 1.32; 95% CI 1.05–1.67) and postpartum (AOR = 2.12; 95% CI 1.67–2.68). Conclusions for Practice: Mistreatment of women by their provider during childbirth is a pervasive health and human rights violation, and is associated with increased risk for maternal health complications in Uttar Pradesh. Efforts to improve quality of maternal care should include greater training and monitoring of providers to ensure respectful treatment of patients.