Your health:

Women urged to seek birth rights

A new organisation launching today is set to campaign for "human rights" for women giving birth.

Campaigners say pregnant women are often left in misery because they do not know that they are entitled to demand treatments such as pain relief.

Organisations such as the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Physicians are set to attend the launch of Birthrights tonight.

Birthrights says women are entitled to "respectful" maternity care that protects rights to dignity, autonomy, privacy and equality.

The group has been founded by a human rights barrister Elizabeth Prochaska.

She said: "My own experience of pregnancy and birth made me aware that our rights in childbirth are often forgotten, particularly when women are from vulnerable groups.

"Birthrights will seek to tackle this, forging close relationships with midwives, doctors and their professional bodies to promote and protect these rights."

Rebecca Schiller, a co-chair of the group, said: "Our launch is timely. With so much focus on the rising birth-rate and the strain on maternity services, the negative impact this can have on women has never been clearer."

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