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Table 2 Mapping typologies of disrespectful care for mothers and newborns, with references where available

From: Defining disrespect and abuse of newborns: a review of the evidence and an expanded typology of respectful maternity care

“Third order themes” “Second order” themes specific to newborns
Physical abuse Slapping infant or immersing in cold water for resuscitation [24]
Suctioning without medical indication [25]
Unnecessary, painful medical procedures [26]
Non-gentle or unsafe handling or shaking of newborn [27]
Verbal abuse Women blamed for poor neonatal outcomes, small infant, female newborn [2]
Small, sick or disabled newborns seen as “defective” [8]
Stigma and discrimination Discrimination against poor, illiterate, minority, patients [2]
Some babies considered “too sick to save” [8]
Denial or threatened denial of postnatal care because home-born [9]
Denial of vaccination card because home-born [9, 28]
Discrimination against twins [29]
Discrimination against female infants [30]
Failure to meet professional standards of care Unnecessary separation of mother/parent/caregiver and newborn [31]
Not enough providers for mother and newborn [2]
Lack of/poor labour monitoring, lack of preparedness for delivery and to receive newborn [19]
No or insufficient efforts to resuscitate [32, 33]
No breastfeeding support [1]
Food restrictions or non-allowance of traditional foods for postpartum mothers [2]
Non-consented treatment of a newborn [31]
Fears of lack of privacy or confidentiality, especially related to HIV status of infant [20]
Newborn detained if no payment [4, 31]
Neglect/abandonment [1]
No analgesic/palliative care options [34]
Crowded conditions, shared beds [2]
Early discharge from facility [15]
No translation or interpretation services [1]
Unnecessary medical procedures (e.g. blood draws, injections) [25, 26]
Poor rapport between patients and providers Women blamed for poor neonatal outcomes, small infant, female newborn [2]
Unnecessary separation of mother/parent/caregiver and newborn [31]
Non-consented treatment of newborn [31]
Lack of breastfeeding, thermal care or other postpartum support [15]
Health system conditions and constraints Not enough providers for mother and newborn [2]
Providers with no/limited skills for newborn care [19, 32]
Unavailable or insufficient equipment for newborn care [2]
Room cold or dirty (e.g. exposure to bacteria) [33]
Newborn left alone or unattended [1]
Added category: Legal accountability No birth/death registration [35]
Poor governance of health system/no legal recourse for malpractice [19]
Added category: Bereavement and posthumous care No/inappropriate bereavement options offered [12]
No options for autopsies/verbal autopsies [18]
Deleted category: Sexual abuse No evidence for newborns