When Pregnancy Harms: Obstetric Fistula

Publication Date: 2012
Author: UNFPA
Publisher: UNFPA

Obstetric fistula is a preventable and in most cases, treatable childbirth injury that leaves women incontinent, ashamed and often isolated from their communities. It occurs when a woman or girl suffers prolonged, obstructed labour without timely access to an emergency Caesarean section. A debilitating condition that has left—and continues to leave—hundreds of thousands of women suffering in solitude and shame, obstetric fistula is undeniably one of the most telling examples of inequitable access to maternal health care and, until recently, one of the most hidden and neglected conditions. 

Related content

News
Once a month, Nolwazi Myeni receives a message on her mobile phone notifying her that family planning services are available despite the pandemic-related lockdown.
Publications

Substantial progress has been made in newborn health and survival and in preventing stillbirths over the past decade, including in countries with the highest burdens of newborn mortality.

Publications

Every year, millions of girls are subjected to practices that harm them physically and emotionally, with the full knowledge and consent of their families, friends and communities.

Pages