This study aims to assess the prevalence of mistreatment during childbirth in the occupied Palestinian territory and to explore factors associated with mistreatment.
A cross-sectional study of women who gave birth in the West Bank and Gaza Strip health facilities. The survey was administered over the phone to women up to 8 weeks post-partum. Data collection took place between July 2020 and March 2021.
A total of 745 women participated in the study, 36·25% were from the Gaza Strip and 63·75% from the West Bank. The prevalence of mistreatment was 18·8% in which women reported any verbal abuse, physical abuse, or stigma or discrimination during childbirth, with verbal abuse as the most common form of mistreatment reported. Physical abuse was more likely to be reported by women with no labour companion with them (OR: 3·11, 95%CI: 1·24 − 7·99). Verbal abuse was more likely to be reported by women with less than three live births (OR: 1·71, 95%CI: 1·06 − 2·76, women with no birth companion (OR: 2·72, 95%CI: 1·36 − 3·80) and more likely to be reported if curtains wre not used (OR: 2·55, 95%CI: 1·33 − 4·88). Women with less education were more likely to report long waiting times or delays in receiving services compared to women with higher education (OR: 1·40, 95%CI: 1·06 − 2·10).
For the first time using the World Health Organisation (WHO) tool in the Eastern Mediterranean region, the study findings, show the occurrence of mistreatment and identify areas to be strengthened to ensure that all women have a respectful childbirth experience within health facilities.