Left powerless: A qualitative social media content analysis of the Dutch #breakthesilence campaign on negative and traumatic experiences of labour and birth

Marit S. G. van der Pijl , Martine H. Hollander, Tineke van der Linden, Rachel Verweij, Lianne Holten, Elselijn Kingma, Ank de Jonge, Corine J. M. Verhoeven, ‘Left powerless: A qualitative social media content analysis of the Dutch #breakthesilence campaign on negative and traumatic experiences of labour and birth’, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0233114, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0233114, PLOS ONE (May 12, 2020)

Women increasingly report experiences of disrespect and abuse during labour and birth, including physical abuse, non-consented care, non-confidential care, non-dignified care, discrimination, abandonment and detention. Disrespectful and abusive care leads to the neglect of psychological and emotional needs in labour and birth, which are essential for labouring women. (…) This study gives insight into the content shared by women through the #genoeggezwegen campaign, that was started to break the silence on negative and traumatic experiences in Dutch maternity care. Women reported experiencing a lack of informed consent, not being taken seriously and not being listened to, lack of compassion and use of force; this left them feeling powerless. This may indicate that disrespect and abuse during labour and birth do happen in the Netherlands, although the current study gives no insight into prevalence. The findings of this study may contribute to better awareness of maternity care providers and the community on the possible existence of disrespect and abuse in Dutch maternity care, and encourage joint effort on improving care both individually and systemically/institutionally.