Protect human rights! Stop forcing caesarean sections on women who are COVID-19 positive!

Protect human rights! Stop forcing caesarean sections on women who are COVID-19 positive!

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リプロ・リサーチ実行委員会 started this petition to 厚生労働省 and

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"I had a caesarean section because I was COVID-19 positive. I had no choice. I did not see my baby, just heard the cry in the operation theatre.  I did not see my baby for two weeks.”

"My husband was not allowed in the hospital to support me during my labour and he couldn't see his baby till we were discharged from hospital.  However, during hospitalization, I was free to go to a shop in the hospital where outpatients come and go. I don’t understand the basis of this infection control.”

"When my water broke, I was left alone for half a day in hospital till the results of the PCR test came back negative."

(From answers to our Your Maternity Service during Covid-19 Survey and news)  

These are some of the voices from women and families who answered our survey. Maternity care in Japan during COVID-19 is very different from that of other countries.  

The World Health Organization (WHO), International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), Royal College of Obstetricians (RCM), International Confederation of Obstetrics and Gynecology (FIGO) and Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (RCOG) are all warning women who are confirmed or suspected of being COVID-19 positive that they may be offered or forced to have medical interventions such as caesarean section. There is no evidence that caesarean section reduces the risk of transmission from women to babies. Surgery will increase the number of healthcare workers involved in her care and the length of her hospital stay, which may increase the risk of transmission from women to health care workers. It makes more sense to reduce the burden on medical institutions by using fewer interventions, having shorter hospital stays, and offering better ongoing care by midwives in the community. 

Having a birth partner is NOT an "extra service;", it is a woman's right to have her chosen birth partner.  It is recognized as necessary and evidence-based care that  reduces medical intervention, improves the condition of the newborn, and supports women in having a positive birth experience.

It is also not recommended to separate mothers and babies just because women are COVID-19 positive. WHO and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have recommended breastfeeding for COVID-19 women since March 2020. Mother-child separation and the lack of skin-to-skin are proven to negatively impact breastfeeding, the woman’s caring capacity, i.e. her ability to respond to her baby’s emotional needs, as well as the baby's mental health. It also increases the risk of developmental disorders. In addition, babies in neonatal units are recognized as people with the human right to be with their mother / father.

Pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum are precious experiences for women, babies and families. Current maternity care does not value its human aspects, resulting  in isolation, dissatisfaction, postnatal depression and anxiety.  The implication of this includes increased risk of child abuse and neglect, developmental disorders, suicide rates, and mental illness in women, babies and the entire family. 

All women, whether they are COVID-19 positive or not, are entitled to a safe and positive childbirth experience.

Many of the interventions that are taking place in the name of COVID-19 infection control in maternity care in Japan at present vary greatly from one maternity facility to another.  The discrepancy of care happens due to the lack of scientific evidence and lack of strong guideline.  The unscientific and unclear guidelines presented in the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s "COVID-19 treatment guide" and the "COVID-19 Guide" published by  three obstetric organizations: the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Japan Society of for Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology, has led to women birthing without a birth partner, increased intervention, breastfeeding difficulties, and increased mother-child separation. (* 1 * 2)

There is an urgent need for updating and improving the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's "COVID-19 Treatment Guide," the "COVID-19 Guide" of the three obstetric societies, and on-site care  based on scientific evidence and international standards.  This process should take into account  not only all professional organizations involved in maternity care, including midwives, but above all, the views and needs of women and their families. 

We ask for your support so that we can make our voices heard to ensure that women, babies and their families are provided with the best possible care. Please sign!


We the Repro-Research Committee, are a volunteer group, including medical professionals, researchers and support professionals living in Japan and overseas.  Repro-Research Committe (Chiaki Shirai, Junko Ozawa, Naoko Nishikawa, Sakae Kikuchi Yumiko Teramoto)

Email address:


Twitter: @reproresearch1

Facebook: リプロ・リサーチ実行委員会


Your Maternity Service during Covid-19 SurveyURL

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