Research Project

Study on Labour Room Violence/Obstetric Violence

Research Area : Health Services and Financing

The phenomenon of obstetric violence defined as ‘the appropriation of the body and reproductive processes of women by health personnel, which is expressed as dehumanized treatment, an abuse of medication, and to convert the natural processes into pathological ones, bringing with it loss of autonomy and the ability to decide freely about their bodies and sexuality, negatively impacting the quality of life of women’, has gained international recognition with the WHO releasing a strong statement against disrespectful; treatment of women during childbirth.

CEHAT, through its work with women facing violence and distress, has found that healthcare providers discriminate against women who come from vulnerable communities, and religious and sexual minorities. Furthermore, women seeking the services of Dilaasa have confided to the counselors that they have been treated badly by healthcare providers in the form of derogatory comments and rude behaviour, and physically detrimental practices such as slapping and applying fundal pressure to hasten labour.

Though there have been studies conducted on the phenomenon of obstetric violence world over, studies in India have not yet gained traction. Furthermore, studies have mostly explored the prevalence of obstetric violence through surveys with women availing of healthcare facilities. CEHAT has proposed a study which examined healthcare providers’ perspectives about obstetric violence. The study uses the qualitative methodology, and comprises interviews with doctors, nurses, and grade four staff such as ayah bais.  The proposal has been cleared by the IEC committee.

The first phase of the study involves compiling relevant studies on the phenomenon, and creating annotated bibliographies of the same. The second stage of the study involves the qualitative research study with healthcare providers.



Tejal Barai-Jaitly

Durga Vernekar


Supported by: Ford Foundation


Project Publications