Simulation training improves respectful maternity care
Respectful maternity care maintains women’s dignity, ensures their privacy and confidentiality and enables informed choice and support. This kind of care is key to maternal and newborn health. However, there are few evidence-based approaches to improve respectful maternity care in low-resource settings.

Disrespectful care often happens in highly stressful emergency care situations. Targeting care in that context may be the most effective way of improving it. New Bixby Center research looks at how a highly realistic simulation training from PRONTO International impacts respectful care.

Women giving birth at facilities in Ghana were surveyed before providers received the training, and another group of women was surveyed after. The second group reported significantly more respectful care. The biggest change was in communication and autonomy, where the score almost doubled. This reflects the training’s emphasis on teamwork and communications in all simulations and debriefings. There were also increases in supportive care and dignity and respect.

This adds to the growing research that interventions targeting respectful maternity care can improve women’s childbirth experiences. It also highlights the potential of putting respectful maternity care in the context of broader quality of care. This research did not address issues like infrastructure and systemic issues like provider shortages, but those are also essential elements to create and sustain change. As part of that broader strategy, training that gives providers an opportunity to learn and reflect on how they provide respectful maternity care in the context of stressful situations has potential to vastly improve women’s experiences.