Human rights in childbirth, narratives and restorative justice: a review

Reprod Health. 2017 Feb 2;14(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s12978-016-0264-3.


This review describes the emerging global debate on the role of human rights childbirth. It is also tailored to a UK perspective in view of the Montgomery v. Lanarkshire [2015] legal ruling and it implications to practice. We can never underestimate the power of humane care on health. The compassion and evidence based medicine agenda in healthcare is interconnected with human rights in healthcare, feeding into the principles of decision making and patient centred care. When this has not happened and there is been healthcare conflict, the power of storytelling serves to connect disparate parties to their common humanity. Narratives are an important aspect of restorative justice processes and we suggest that this could be beneficial in the field of human rights in childbirth.

Keywords: Human rights in childbirth; Narratives; Obstetric violence; Respectful maternity care; Restorative justice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Delivery, Obstetric / standards*
  • Female
  • Human Rights / standards*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services / standards*
  • Parturition / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Social Justice*