A recent survey carried out by the charity Pregnant Then Screwed reported that one in five women who gave birth last December in Britain were forced to wear face masks during labor or cesarean section.
The survey, published by BBC News, revealed that 20% of pregnant women in the representative study sample were forced to wear a mask during childbirth, both those who delivered naturally and those who had a cesarean section.
The use of masks has been criticized in countless studies for its contraindications in different aspects. As is well known, there is still no absolute consensus on its use. For this reason, it is still demanded by most governments and widely recommended by powerful but also questioned organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But despite the disputes over the use and scope of the face mask, certain limits had not yet been exceeded. Such is the fact that a pregnant woman at the time of childbirth is forced to wear it. Something that seems to make the least common sense was not for many institutions and health professionals in Great Britain.
One of the victims who was forced to wear a face mask spoke to the BBC about it. Rosie Brown, who gave birth to her third child in December, said she had a phobia of vomit. And the smell of the mask made her nauseous, which in turn made her “panic” just as she was about to give birth.
“It was making me feel very sick. They put it on my face while I was in advanced labor,” Rosie says.
She added, “We’re so conditioned to wear them that I didn’t question it. So between the claustrophobia and the pain, I panicked that I was going to throw up inside my mask.”
The research conducted indicates that Rosie’s case was not unique; in fact, it was only one of the thousands of possible similar situations.
Natalie Titherington, another victim said, “Someone put the mask on me. I said ‘you can’t be serious’ and she replied ‘yes,'” adding that while wearing the mask during the painful contractions, she was “gasping for air and felt completely suffocated.”
“I tried to take the mask off at one point, but was told I had to put it back on,” she added.
This type of situation, which the survey found could have been experienced by thousands of midwives, was even against the recommendations set out in a briefing paper from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG).
Joeli Brearley, the founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, told The Guardian: “Research that we did in December showed that just 53 per cent of women are feeling listened to in labour.”
Ms. Brearley continued: “When you overlay that with the fact that 50 per cent of women who are having C-sections are being told to wear a mask, and 10 per cent of those in natural labour, you’re adding a literal communication barrier when birthing restrictions mean that some women are birthing alone.”
Despite clear regulations stating that pregnant women should not be required to wear a mouthpiece, it is unknown why such a large proportion of them was forced to wear one. What is clear is that the level of paranoia that has been instilled in the population has even affected certain health professionals who are evidently losing all logical reasoning and thinking when performing their duties.
The pandemic of the CCP Virus has also affected other aspects of maternity-related to the care that should be given to women in labor. Many husbands have not been allowed to attend their wives’ births, and thousands of mothers have not received the support of any loved one during labor and postpartum.