Promoted by the Portuguese Association for Women's Rights in Pregnancy and Childbirth (APDMGP), the second edition of the survey "Childbirth Experiences in Portugal", analysed the period 2015-2019, according to data that Lusa had access to.
The objective was "to know the experiences of women in terms of the characteristics of childbirth and personal satisfaction with it, as well as any situations of abuse or disrespect that may have been experienced in its course".
The questionnaire obtained 7,555 valid answers and testimonies from women who had one or more babies during this period. More than half of the sample is between 30 and 39 years old, followed by the 20/29 age group.
The survey's main conclusions are that "the greater the women's feeling of control over their birth experience, the greater the satisfaction they experience".
Of the 7,555 births, 69 percent were vaginal and 31 percent by caesarean section, according to the APDMGP.
Only 52.8 percent of respondents who had a vaginal birth said they had freedom of movement during labour.
"Respondents with an intrapartum caesarean section were the least satisfied with their experience and felt more conditioned in expressing their opinion, less involved in decision-making, less supported by the team, less confident," the association said in a statement.
According to the survey, "around 50.30 percent of women who said they had experienced childbirth had a vaginal birth without the use of forceps or suction cups, while 28.50 percent" said they had used these mechanisms.
About 2,820 women said their pregnancy was at risk (37 percent), but only 2,746 identified the factors that assessed this risk.
Some 78 percent said that the right to follow-up during childbirth was mostly respected. The partner (81.80 percent), the specialist nurse (76.20 percent) and the obstetrician (62.54 percent) were the most frequent attendances.
The association points out that "currently, in Portugal, this is not a reality" due to the pandemic.
The vast majority of respondents agree that they were able to observe their baby after birth and that this moment corresponded to their expectations.
About 62 percent say that their birth was not induced, against 37.6 percent who say it was, but "an important number" say they are not sure if their birth was induced or not.
For most respondents, the ideal birth is vaginal, pain-free, spontaneously initiated and assisted by professionals of their choice.
"Alongside the advancement of the pandemic, we are experiencing a real pandemic of abuse, disrespect and violence against women, with an exponential increase in violations of women's rights throughout the world," the association warns.
For the APDMGP, "more than ever it is important to ensure that women's rights and the recommendations of the World Health Organisation are respected", stressing that "violence against women is the most widespread violation of human rights around the world".