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CDC Report: 30% of Black, Hispanic, & Multiracial Women Reported Mistreatment During Pregnancy and Delivery

Florida reported the state's pregnancy-related mortality rate has increased every year since 2016.

Pregnant woman with headline: Many women report mistreatment during maternity care

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Black, Hispanic, and multiracial women are more likely to be mistreated during pregnancy and delivery than other women. The CDC says, “Moms deserve respectful and equal maternity care.”

According to the CDC’s Vital Signs, maternal deaths increased in the United States during 2018–2021, and there were documented racial disparities. "Respectful maternity care is a component of quality care that includes preventing harm and mistreatment, engaging in effective communication, and providing care equitably. Improving respectful maternity care can be part of multilevel strategies to reduce pregnancy-related deaths" (Vital Signs).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 5 women reported mistreatment while receiving maternity care. Of those women, 30% were Black, Hispanic, and multiracial women.

Respectful maternity care (preventing mistreatment, communicating effectively, and providing care equitably) can be integrated into strategies that aim to improve the quality of care and reduce pregnancy-related deaths.

Mistreatment included violations of physical privacy or verbal abuse during maternity care. Approximately 40% of Black, Hispanic, and multiracial mothers reported discrimination during maternity care. 45% of all mothers reported holding back from asking questions or discussing concerns with their provider.

While approximately 90% of women in the survey reported satisfaction with maternity care received, the estimate was lower among those who experienced mistreatment.

It was found that women might report overall satisfaction with their maternity care and recall instances of mistreatment. Women who feel safe, supported, and respected are more likely to have positive pregnancy experiences (see). Higher patient-centered maternity care scores are associated with a lower risk for pregnancy complications (see). Improving respectful maternity care can improve the experiences of mothers during pregnancy and delivery care.

The report found that approximately 80% of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. Prevention requires a multilevel approach that ensures quality care for all pregnant and postpartum persons. Standards of quality maternity care include respectful maternity care, which is "care organized for and provided to all women in a manner that maintains their dignity, privacy, and confidentiality, ensures freedom from harm and mistreatment, and enables informed choice and continuous support during labor and childbirth" (The World Health Organization).

Engaging patients with effective communication is a component of respectful care. Nearly one-half of respondents reported holding back from asking questions or discussing concerns with their provider during maternity care. The most common mistreatment experience reported by mothers was a healthcare provider ignoring them, refusing their request for help, or not responding to their request for help. The Hear Her Campaign provides resources for pregnant and postpartum women and their support networks to share concerns with providers and to recognize urgent maternal warning signs that signal an immediate need to seek care.

The campaign also promotes the need for providers to actively listen to their patient's concerns and provide culturally appropriate, respectful care. Clinical organizations representing health care providers have highlighted the importance of providing respectful maternity care to improve outcomes for mothers and children by ensuring effective communication and shared decision-making with patients and their families and strengthening coordinated care teams (Quality Patient Care in Labor and Delivery: a Call to Action).

While the Florida Health website proclaims, "It's a new day in public health," there is no explanation why it hasn't update its figures since 2020.

Florida's Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which analyzes maternal deaths in Florida, reported the state's pregnancy-related mortality rate has increased every year since 2016.


Healthcare systems can encourage a culture of respectful maternity care by implementing training for healthcare providers on recognizing unconscious bias and stigma, shared decision-making, improving interactions and communication with patients, and cultural awareness.

When the Governor gets back to Florida, he might consider paying attention to this important healthcare issue and updateing the state's information.

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