"You enjoyed, now it's your turn to suffer"the expression of mistreatment in childbirth in Cuba

"You enjoyed, now it’s your turn to suffer"the expression of mistreatment in childbirth in Cuba

The only type of violence against women that the official press is allowed to review, and with the utmost discretion, is obstetrics. The mistreatment in hospitals and the appalling conditions in which childbirth takes place are rarely attributed to the malfunctioning of the health system, and are never reflected in the national media.

Hence the surprise of the critical report posted this friday in Newspaper 26, the organ of the Communist Party in Las Tunas. Phrases like “You enjoyed, now you have to suffer” or “Nobody forced you to give birth” are regularly repeated by health personnel, although the most common thing, the newspaper says, is to ignore the complaints of pain from pregnant women.

Yanelis, a 25-year-old mother from Las Tunas, told the newspaper the “indolence” of the doctors and nurses, not to mention the students “without voice or vote.” “The first thing that shocks is that in such a delicate moment you have to be alone,” lamented the woman, who was left in the living room “suffering” for a whole day after breaking the water.

Without her husband being able to help her, an elderly doctor verbally mistreated her, while she lay naked and bleeding on the stretcher.

Without her husband being able to help her, an elderly doctor verbally mistreated her, while she remained naked and bleeding on the stretcher. “I thought she was going to die and not have my baby,” she said, recalling her blood loss. The little boy was born with complications due to the wrong behavior of the doctors, and he continues to suffer from muscle weakness and other pathologies related to childbirth.

Another 29-year-old woman, identified by the newspaper as Leidis, denounced that she had been dressed in “a torn, stained robe” and that she could not claim any attention because “it seemed as if I were bothering her.” The doctor who was treating her insulted her several times and she, whose “face fell with humiliation”, replied that he was mistreating her.

The health worker then left her in the care of inexperienced students who inadvertently caused a tear in her belly. The fact, the girl assured, was “the most disturbing thing in my life”, but she said she suffered more with the “doctor’s speech” than with the pains of childbirth.

The report of newspaper 26 It is accompanied by a survey of 271 mothers whose figures, in themselves, are alarming. 209 of the interviewees were deprived of the presence of their family in the delivery room, while 101 declared having suffered “hurtful phrases” from the staff. Tourniquets and medication were applied to 90 without their consent.

Nor did the 113 pregnant women who underwent an episiotomy, a surgical incision designed to widen the vagina to facilitate childbirth, say they had agreed. In 121 cases cries of pain were ignored and, finally, 128 mothers were separated from their children immediately after giving birth.

Egnodio Leyva states that “the best thing” would be for the pregnant woman to give birth in the company of her family and with peace of mind, otherwise “she would face a dysfunctional birth

To soften the horror of stories and figures, newspaper 26 Interview with Dr. Yunier Egnodio Leyva, from the Ernesto Guevara Provincial Hospital. “While in Chile and Germany they favor swimming pools, since it is the ideal environment for babies, we continue to be tied to old routines,” he declares.

Egnodio Leyva states that “the best” would be for the pregnant woman to give birth in the company of her family and with peace of mind, otherwise “a dysfunctional delivery is faced, the fetus suffers inside the womb, it tends to present several complications and sometimes causes cerebral hypoxia that will limit its subsequent development”.

In the doctor’s opinion, it is absurd that it is still a requirement that pregnant women remain lying down and that they are prohibited from walking, a practice that favors – due to gravity – the delivery of the child. “Also, it is positive that they do squats and use the hydrokinetic balloon,” he added.

“We abuse episiotomy,” says Egnodio Leyva, “and we don’t always request your approval to administer drugs such as oxytocin.” Not to mention, he affirms, the lack of comfort, the lack of hygiene and the lack of privacy in the rooms.

Dr. Osmara López Borrero, who directs the maternal and child section of the Las Tunas hospital, also told the newspaper that in 2022 three mothers died in the province, “two due to conditions associated with pregnancy, such as sicklemia and cardiac arrhythmia, and the other due to a hemorrhagic complication of childbirth”, but attributed the crisis in hospital obstetrics to the “situation in the country”.

Finally, Liliana Gómez Ramos, a researcher from the province, denounced that “it is an accepted practice that many doctors use offensive phrases and harsh tones so that [la gestante] react, but isn’t this institutionalizing abuse? Can’t routines be based on positive reinforcement?”

“It is not an exaggeration,” says Gómez Ramos, “situations in which patients have bled to death due to negligence have been documented in Cuba, and it is unfortunate. Academic research has shown that obstetric processes, especially in recent times, are very violent.”

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