Is it natural, or healthy in the least bit, for a woman to wear a cloth mask during the intense and difficult process of childbirth?
It’s common sense that breathing is one of the most important parts of the process, hence the widely known and utilized breathing classes that women take prior to going into labor in the hospital.
But now, women in France are reportedly in an uproar over being forced to wear masks during childbirth, with doctors allegedly refusing to treat anyone who refuses to wear one.
The mask mandate is stronger than those in other developed nations, many of whom have kept it optional, but in France, critics say that women are being put in situations that are causing “unnecessary distress,” sometimes causing them to become too weak to even push the baby out or to have emergency C-sections.
These critics are arguing that birth teams should be the ones wearing high-grade medical masks instead, as has long been the standard practice in hospitals all over the world.
“You Have to Keep Your Mask on, it’s Protocol”
Recently, mothers who have given birth under these conditions have spoken out about their experiences, a report from The Daily Mail said.
One mother, Maud, age 30, gave birth in the western suburbs of France at the end of April.
Unaware of the rules prior to giving birth, she was forced to wear the same mask during the high intensity process between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., describing her experience at the hospital as “blackmail.”
The woman said that if she did not wear a mask, she would have to give birth on her own because the doctors could choose not to treat her. The hospital was said to be understaffed and could not find a replacement team.
“As soon as I pushed the first time I realized that it was going to be complicated and my instinct was to take off the mask to breathe,” said the mother, who did not give her last name.
“You have to keep your mask on, it’s protocol,” she was also told.
During the intense birthing process, she agreed to put her mask back on and pushed again but realized that it was going to be complicated because she was “breathing in her own hot air.”
“I had the feeling that I was suffocating, I was very hot, I was sweating profusely under my mask, I wasn’t managing it,” she said.
Her partner took the mask off her after seeing that she was in distress, but was allegedly told off for doing so, the report said.
“In the end the doctor had to use forceps, and my son was born with amniotic fluid in his lungs, a bump on his head from the forceps and he had to be transferred to the neonatal service in another hospital because the hospital I was in did not have adequate facilities,” she said.
She called the experience “very traumatic for my partner and me.”
Her son was also forcibly moved to another hospital, adding to the trauma of the experience.
“I was all alone in my room,” she said.
Other women in France have been critical of her and those in similar situations, she added, before calling for better understanding.
“Women need to be more understanding of one another. The suffering and the trauma is real.
“Today, I don’t know if I would be psychologically capable to have a second child given what I have been through.”
Other Women Report Similar Difficulties: Throwing Up, Unbearable Pain and More
While media outlets in the United States including CNN, which recently published positive testimonials from women who wore masks while giving birth in the hospital, have continued to advance the narrative that masks are absolutely necessary in all situations (despite the fact that not everyone responds well to them at all and there are many potential side effects), the Mail article, which can be read in full here, also highlighted the harrowing experiences of other French mothers struggling with strict mask wearing rules.
Recently, the women’s group ‘Tou.te.s Contre les violences Obstetricales et Gynecologiques’ (‘All Against Obstetrical and Gynaecological Violence’) collected testimonials from over 2,000 new and expectant mothers since September 8 of this year.
The survey found that 75 percent of women who have given birth during the coronavirus situation have showed signs of postpartum depression.
Campaign founder and spokesperson Sonia Bisch said it was impossible to know what the statistic was in France prior to the survey because “in France we do not assess this,” she said.
Perhaps the most striking part of the survey is that only 10 people tested positive for the COVID, a disease that overwhelmingly kills elderly people and most who die have potentially serious underlying conditions.
Are these hospitals overreaching, and creating a culture of fear, OCD behavior and compliance? And what types of unstudied psychological and physical effects could these rules be having on mothers across the country, as well as in hospitals stateside that may be mandating them?
It certainly feels like these hospitals are way too strict to many observers, and proponents of health freedom across the country who believe that mask rules are going too far.
‘Before the summer, 46 per cent of women giving birth were made to wear face masks, now that number has risen to over 80 percent,’ Sonia said, adding that her organization has created a hashtag called #StopMaskedBirth that has generated thousands of responses.