Skip to main content

Obstetric Violence Blog 

The Obstetric Violence Blog offers a multidisciplinary platform for commentary, analysis, and critical reflection on established and emerging issues related to obstetric violence, disrespect and abuse during pregnancy and childbirth, and human rights in childbirth more generally. It aims to promote dialogue and awareness of obstetric violence related issues between interested stakeholders from diverse backgrounds and across the globe. We welcome submissions from students, early career researchers, policymakers, academics from all relevant fields, lawyers, healthcare professionals and support services, civil society organisations and anyone with a vested interest in obstetric violence and abuse during childbirth which is broadly construed.

Blogs will not be peer-reviewed but will be reviewed by the editorial staff for relevance, originality, timeliness, topic, style, and focus. Blogs under consideration elsewhere or those already published on other platforms will not be considered. Before being posted on the CELLS website, editors will collaborate with authors to edit the piece. Twitter will be used to publicise blogs on publication (on submitting your blog post please provide details of your Twitter account or that of your research group so that we can tag you when sharing).

To submit a blog post for consideration, please read our Blog Guidelines


Editors: Camilla Pickles and Olivia Verity


Blog Posts

Tied2Beds: Spatial Hauntings in Obstetric Care

Noting the importance of naming obstetric violence, Nicole Daniels and Veronica Mitchell foreground how material relations with/in the labour ward normalise institutional arrangements that manifest as violence. The authors focus on the power and implications of beds on the labour ward floor as a component of the materiality of violence in obstetric care.
A doctor's hand drawing of the central role of beds in the labour ward

The Iatrogenic Harm of Binary Gender in Perinatal Care: How Perinatal Systems Insistence on a Gender Binary Risks Babies Lives

In this post on naming and framings of violations in maternity care, Mari Greenfield and Yuval Topper introduce a case study to draw attention to unseen violences that occur when trans people rely on NHS perinatal services that enforce sex binaries and structure care according to cisgender and heterosexual frameworks.
Colourful letter tiles spelling the word transgender

Birth Trauma, Obstetric Violence, and the Human Cost of Caring

Cristen Pascucci, Founder of Birth Monopoly and Director of ‘Mother May I’, reflects on the cost of caring in the context of obstetric violence and highlights pressing concerns about secondary traumatic stress. An essential read for those working on obstetric violence.
12 burnt matchsticks against a grey background

The Supreme Court of Israel allows the operation of natural birth centres outside hospitals

Dganit Sommerfeld details the ground-breaking ruling delivered in Nashim Korot Laledet v State of Israel, a case that lifts the ban on ‘natural birth centres’ in Israel. This piece traces the progression of the case which ultimately recognised the importance of women’s ability to choose their own birthing experience. A promising milestone in the fight to address obstetric violence in Israel.
Poster on street lamp stating good news

The Iatrogenic Harm of Heterosexism in Perinatal Care: Have We Forgotten Lesbian Mothers during Covid?

Mari Greenfield continues the blog series on naming and framings of violations in maternity care. The post exposes several heteronormative framings in perinatal care, with a focus on lesbian co-breastfeeding mothers' experiences. She reveals the harmful consequences of heteronormative Covid maternity restriction policies which fail to recognise diversity in family structures and the different roles that parents play. Not all partners are fathers and not only mothers who birth can breastfeed.
Pride flag

The Battle for Recognition: Obstetric Violence and its Long Controversies

This blog continues the blog series on naming and framing of violations in maternity care. Rachelle Chadwick traces the racist, sexist, and misogynistic history of obstetric care and provides some hard-hitting critique of those who refuse to engage with ‘obstetric violence’ and its ‘struggle history’.
Multiple squares of plain white paper

Utilising Tortious Battery to Redress Unauthorised Vaginal Examinations

In this post, Olivia Verity discusses the use of the tort of battery to redress unauthorised vaginal examinations during childbirth. It provides an overview of Olivia’s LLB dissertation on the issue, which was awarded the Durham Gender and Law Prize, and outlines the foundation of her current research as an MJur candidate.
The word 'no' painted on a tar road

The Language of Birth Trauma

Gemma McKenzie continues the blog series on naming and framings of violations in maternity care. In her post, she distinguishes ‘birth trauma’ from ‘obstetric violence’, and explores key concerns with the use of ‘birth trauma’ to describe abuse and violence during childbirth.
Square labels of trauma and abuse

Translating Sociological Theories of Obstetric Violence into Human Rights Doctrine

Eva Bredler kickstarts the blog series dedicated to exploring naming and framings of violations in maternity care. Her blog post exposes different constructions of violence in human rights law versus social sciences and offers encouraging insights into bridging this divide.
Blindfolded woman holding justice scales

An Analysis: Forced Symphysiotomies in Ireland and Informed Consent

This blog continues a series of posts exploring symphysiotomies without consent. Aoife Finnerty considers the purpose of the doctrine of informed consent and the notion that, despite the decision of the European Court of Human Rights, a wrong has been done to the women upon whom these symphysiotomies were performed.

Symphysiotomies as Obstetric Violence in the International Human Rights Framework

This blog continues a series of posts exploring symphysiotomies without consent. Zoe Tongue considers the comments made by international human rights bodies on symphysiotomies performed on Irish women, and their failure to categorise this practice as gender-based violence.

Symphysiotomy, ‘Bad Faith’ and ‘Past Standards’

This blog is the second in a series of posts exploring symphysiotomies without consent. Máiréad Enright explores the European Court of Human Right’s questionable reliance on ‘bad faith’ and ‘past standards’, and highlights its failure to engage with the structural injustices and collective norms that enabled this form of obstetric violence.