Since its inception in 2004, AFAR has been denouncing the routine implementation of interventions without medical indications or scientific validity (lack of evidence) carried out without the consent of the woman, or with consent obtained via unfair information.
The term “obstetric violence” was used in 2004 in our exchanges with Quebec activists of the perinatality — see Pour une naissance insoumise in Grégoire, Lysane et Stéphanie St-Amant (dir.), Au cœur de la naissance : témoignages et réflexions sur l’accouchement, Montréal, Remue-ménage, 2004, p.361–382. Recently (2018), in the French-speaking world, it has been agreed to associate violence suffered by patients of gynecologists, hence the term “violences gynécologiques et obstétricales”.
Obstetric violence also includes ill-treatment (threats, neglect …) and inappropriate pain management: live caesareans, etc.
According to Stéphanie Saint-Amant (interview on Planète F Magazine, 23/04/2014), obstetric violence is a form of malpractice that may be subtle, often invisible, and that causes harm or disturbs women. This malpractice often goes unnoticed, because it is so common, so unnoticed. Therefore, it is not just an “assault” by a caregiver (although there exist many of these acts of uncontrolled violence). Here we mean systemic violence, institutional violence in attitudes and practices.
- A bibliography of obstetric violence (online papers)
- Compilation on obstetric violence (PDF) 68 pages (2016)
- Mise à jour de la compilation (PDF) (2018)
- Discussion of obstetric violence in France
Obstetric violence can have various psychological and physical consequences on maternal and/or family well-being: bad experiences, difficult beginnings with the baby, in addition to postpartum depression or post-traumatic stress.
Several groups or societies affiliated with CIANE offer a support adapted to specific problems: