Why this story matters:
A quarter of women giving birth in Romania don't even get medical care during the pregnancy -- these are poor women from rural areas, often from Roma families.
Even for those who do get basic care, treatment of pregnant women in Romanian hospitals is less than optimal.
Women giving birth are shouted at by stressed medical staff, pressured into unneccesary procedures like C-sections, and babies are routinely separated from the mother at birth and fed with formula, even though the opposite is recommended.
Middle class women can get around these problems by either going to private hospitals -- or paying state doctors to get better care. Many find ways around a broken system. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why there is little pressure to force a major change.
Details from the story:
- The author starts by describing her own traumatic birth experience in a state hospital. She wished for a natural birth and ended up being told by the doctor that 'she had not prepared herself for the birth'. So the author set out to see how other women give birth in Romania.
- Half of the births in Romania are c-sections, mostly because busy doctors schedule them for the sake of convenience.
- The use of doulas is not possible in state hospitals. They are a major untapped resource since they could be providing basic assistance to the 25% of women that currently do not get any care during pregnancy.
- Part of the problem seems to be that the various actors involved in the birth process in Romanian hospitals do not communicate with one another. Lack of resources is another major problem.