Obstetric Violence Observatory in Italy (OVOItalia), La Goccia Magica, CiaoLapo
ITALY: COVID-19 crisis and RMC (Respectful Maternity Care)
“ I gave birth six hours ago and my baby was taken to the nursery, no one is giving me any kind of information about my baby or when I’ll have her back in my room. I feel pain and heat in my breasts. My care givers say it is normal but I don’t feel reassured.”
“ I’ve already come back home from hospital and I feel a lot of pain when my baby is breastfeeding. My care givers said it is normal at the beginning, but I don’t feel like I can stand this. I can’t imagine that breastfeeding should be so painful, my breasts are very stiff and I have chills.”
“When I was in the hospital I received a stillbirth diagnosis and my care givers said that my husband could not come in, they said that it would take a long time to have the autopsy results, but that usually nothing particular emerges. My husband asked to take a picture of our child’s, but my care givers refused to give him permission. We will never see our baby again.”
Obstetric Violence Observatory in Italy (OVOItalia) jointly with associations La Goccia Magica and CiaoLapo, in the current COVID-19 crisis, highlight the importance of RMC (Respectful Maternity Care) to protect and attain the highest health outcomes for mothers and babies. Please find the link to the full text of the position statement here (in Italian).
The World Health Organization (WHO) reaffirms that women’s and newborns’ human rights during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum are priorities of perinatal health management during the current COVID-19 crisis, in order to attain the highest level of health of the mother and baby.
RMC (Respectful Maternity Care) should also apply when a mother is diagnosed with COVID-19 infection, and it includes:
- dignity and respect;
- companion of choice;
- clear comunication by care givers;
- pain relief;
- freedom of movement;
- not separating the mother from the baby; and
- breastfeeding support.
While isolation is a standard intervention during the COVID-19 mandatory quarantine, the needs of mothers and newborns should be promptly identified and appropriately addressed. We cannot allow women and newborns to be left behind in this crisis.
At this point in history, we see that the National Health System and care givers are collapsing under the COVID-19 crisis and the risk of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infection for mothers and babies is greatly increased. Consequently, the de-hospitalization of pregnancy and birth should be considered and implemented as a safeguard measure for public health.
With the aim to protect mothers’ and babies’ health and safety, the National Health System should strengthen maternity care services providing midwifery care inside the hospital and the availability of midwives to assist women at home or remotely to address their critical needs during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.