Respectful maternity care in Israel during the Covid-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional study of associations between childbirth care practices and women's perceptions of care

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



BMC pregnancy and childbirth








Childbirth; Covid-19; Disrespect and abuse; Israel; Maternal health; Mistreatment; Quality of care; Survey


BACKGROUND: Respectful maternity care is a crucial part of quality care and is associated with better health outcomes. Early in the Covid-19 pandemic, reports from across the world indicated that infection containment measures were often implemented in ways that resulted in disrespectful care of women during facility-based childbirths in violation of evidence-based practices. This study aimed to explore the associations between childbirth care practices and perceptions of care as satisfactory and respectful among women who delivered in Israeli hospitals during the first six months of the Covid-19 pandemic. METHODS: A cross-sectional self-administered online survey was conducted to explore women's perceptions of maternity care using an adapted version of the WHO Community Survey Tool for measuring how women are treated during facility-based childbirth. Multivariate logistic regression models evaluated the associations between sociodemographic characteristics, obstetric information, and measurements of childbirth experiences and women's perceptions of receiving respectful and satisfactory care. RESULTS: The responses of 981 women were included in the analysis. While the majority of women perceived the care they received as both respectful (86.54%) and satisfactory (80.22%), almost 3 in 4 women (72.68%) reported experiencing at least one type of disrespectful care. Positive communication with the medical staff and respect for autonomy were associated with a more positive birth experience for women. Women were more likely to perceive their care as respectful if they did not feel ignored (AOR = 40.11;22.87-70.34). Perception of satisfactory care was more likely among women who had the opportunity to discuss preferences with the medical staff (AOR = 10.15; 6.93-14.86). Having Covid-19 procedures explained increased the likelihood of reporting respectful and satisfactory care (AOR = 2.89;1.91-4.36; AOR = 2.83;2.01-4). CONCLUSION: Understanding which care practices are associated with women's perceptions of care at facility-based births is critical to ensuring quality care. The findings of this study can inform future work and research aimed at enhancing respectful maternity care during times of crisis and beyond.


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