Disrespect and abuse during childbirth and abortion in Latin America: systematic review and meta-analysis

Tobasía-Hege et al


This review synthesizes the evidence (quantitative, general, and by typological categories) of disrespect and abuse during childbirth and abortion in health facilities in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Systematic searches identified 18 primary studies. Q and I2 were calculated, meta-analyses and meta-regressions were performed, and subgroups were analyzed using a DerSimonian and Laird random-effects model grouped by inverse variance and the Freeman-Tukey double arcsine transformation.


Studies conducted in five Latin American countries were identified. No studies from the Caribbean were found. The aggregate prevalence of disrespect and abuse during childbirth and abortion was 39%. The aggregated prevalence of the phenomenon in childbirth was 43% and 29% during abortion. The high heterogeneity made it impossible to generate aggregate measures according to typological categories. Nevertheless, the frequencies of specific forms of the phenomenon were grouped typologically.


The evidence suggests that disrespect and abuse during childbirth and abortion care are human-rights and public-health problems that are prevalent in some countries of the Region. It is necessary to reach international consensus on the definition and operationalization of this problem and to develop standardized methods for its measurement. Doing so is essential in order to achieve the targets of the 2030 Agenda related to reducing maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality and eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women.

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