Pregnancy and childbirth are the most precious momentum a mother experiences during her lifetime, though it is a period of intense vulnerability. During this time mother needs care, attention, and affection from the family as well as from their midwives while going for antenatal examination. Globally about 830 women die every day because of pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. Ensuring that women are not only satisfied with their care but have a positive birth experience can be the catalyst to ensuring they survive and thrive. Respectful Maternity Care encompasses the protection from physical and verbal abuse, disrespect, mistreatment, and inequitable care. It permits a woman to decide her pregnancy and delivery and also helps her to protect her rights. A positive or negative childbirth experience of the mother stays throughout her lifetime. Reduction of maternal, perinatal, and neonatal mortality rates in developing countries has been a collaborative focus of both the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)which emphasize the promotion of institutional births, increasing skilled professional support, and ensuring that every woman has the basic right to access and avail the maternal health care services.

One of the barriers to using maternity care services in developing countries like India is the disrespect and abuse of women during institutional delivery services. Women’s rights are violated when they are mistreated during labour and delivery, which has a detrimental impact on their decision to seek future obstetric care at medical institutions. The main issues include a lack of privacy and confidentiality, disrespect for the right to choose a comfortable position, access to basic health care facilities, prompt medical care, inadequate intrapartum and postpartum care and assessment, availability of specialist and female doctors, poor infrastructure, post-delivery counselling, neglect, care given by unskilled or incompetent staff, a lack of communication, and other infrastructure issues like poor cleanliness, poor hygiene, a lack of water and electricity and crowded rooms. In a wide range of settings, it is also common to see physical abuse, verbal abuse, assault, lack of emotional and cognitive support, separation from a baby, a lack of food, incentives, transportation, unofficial payments, inadequate information, non-consented care, and the performance of unnecessary procedures. The experiences women have during this sensitive time may be crucial in empowering them or contributing to negative feelings that result in low self-esteem and confidence. The mother carries these memories with her for the rest of her life. They also have an impact on the mother’s and the baby’s health.The admiration of respectful maternity care during labor and childbirth needs both scientific and interpersonal skills of midwives as well as healthcare providers. Providing supportive care with friendly interaction is the first step of respectful maternity care. It is also practiced by providing safe care and implementing evidence-based practice.

In 2011, White Ribbon Alliance published the Respectful Maternity Care Charter: The Universal Rights of Childbearing Women, different countries utilize this document as a programming tool. In 2014 WHO released a statement for the prevention and elimination of dishonor, mistreatment, and discrimination of care during childbirth. WHO has stated that “every woman has the right to the highest attainable standard of health, including the right to dignified, respectful care during pregnancy and childbirth”. For this reason WHO called for the mobilization of stakeholders, researchers, government and private agencies as well as the community to support RMC. In December 2017, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the Labor Room & Quality Improvement Initiative (LaQshya) guidelines which aimed to reduce the maternal mortality rate, and quality of care in labor rooms and enhance the positive childbirth experience by fostering RMC for all the pregnant mothers while attending the health care facility . The change in policies and curriculum has helped shift long-entrenched barriers to women receiving quality care and dignified, respectful treatment during labor. Healthcare providers are now sensitized to the need and importance of listening to women and providing care with respect and dignity. Women are increasingly asked what they want and need, are provided key information on the care they receive, and are treated with dignity.