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
Too few women undergo health screenings that can identify life-threatening reproductive diseases. A new campaign aims to change that.
News
“The kind of support women need, a doctor can’t provide. The wound is inside.”
News
Until last month, if a woman needed an emergency Caesarean section on the island of Bubaque, she had to take a five-hour boat ride to the capital city.

Pages