Intimate partner violence during pregnancy and adverse neonatal outcomes in low-income women

Jeanne L. Alhusen, Linda Bullock, Phyllis Sharps, Donna Schminkey, Emily Comstock, Jacquelyn Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) affects an estimated 1.5 million U.S. women annually. IPV impacts maternal and neonatal health with higher rates of depression and low birth weight (LBW). Less studied is experiencing IPV and delivering a small for gestational age (SGA) baby. SGA neonates are at increased risk of developmental and behavioral problems. The negative sequelae persist into adulthood with increased rates of diabetes mellitus and coronary heart disease. Methods: In a sample of 239 pregnant women experiencing IPV, in urban and rural settings, we examined cross-sectional associations of severity of IPV and neonatal outcomes (i.e., birth weight and gestational age). Severity of IPV was measured by the Conflict Tactics Scale 2 and neonatal outcomes were collected at the time of delivery. Results: Outcomes were collected on 194 neonates; 14.9% (n=29) were classified as LBW, 19.1% (n=37) classified as SGA, and 9.8% (n=19) as LBW and SGA. Women reporting higher severity of IPV during pregnancy had a greater likelihood of delivering an SGA neonate (odds ratio [OR] 4.81; 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.86-12.47), and LBW neonate (OR 4.20; 95% CI 1.46-12.10). Conclusions: In a sample of pregnant women experiencing perinatal IPV, women experiencing greater severities of IPV were more likely to deliver a neonate with an adverse outcome. Early recognition and intervention of IPV is essential to reduce disparities in birth outcomes and long-term health outcomes for these neonates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-926
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 17 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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