Pregnant Mothers' Perceptions of how Intimate Partner Violence affects Their Unborn Children

Jeanne L. Alhusen, Damali Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To explore the perceptions of pregnant women on the experience of intimate partner violence (IPV) as it affects maternal and fetal health. Design: Secondary qualitative content analysis. Setting: Individual interviews conducted within three urban obstetric and gynecologic clinics. Participants: Our sample included a subset of eight pregnant women experiencing IPV during the current pregnancy. Participants were selected from a larger parent study that included qualitative data from 13 women. Methods: We analyzed in-depth individual interview transcripts in which participants discussed how they perceived IPV to affect their health as well as the health of their unborn children. Constant comparative techniques and conventional content analysis methodology were used in analysis. Results: Three themes emerged to illustrate mothers' perceptions of how IPV influenced maternal and fetal outcomes: protection, fetal awareness, and fetal well-being. Conclusions: This analysis provides important insights into concerns that pregnant women experiencing IPV shared about maternal attachment and fetal well-being. Health care providers can use these findings to better assess the physical and psychological concerns of pregnant women experiencing IPV. Further research is needed to better understand how IPV contributes to adverse neonatal outcomes, particularly from a biological perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)210-217
Number of pages8
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015



  • Adverse neonatal outcomes
  • Intimate partner violence during pregnancy
  • Maternal attachment
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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