We report on the occurrence of verbal abuse and physical violence during pregnancy for 358 low-income women. Overall, 65% of the women in our study experienced either verbal abuse or physical violence during their pregnancies. Twenty percent of the women in our sample experienced moderate or severe violence. Perpetrators, although primarily male partners, included family members and friends. These rates varied by age, with younger women experiencing significantly higher rates of verbal abuse and physical violence. There was no association between verbal abuse or physical violence and birth weight or gestational age. Prenatal care may be one of the only opportunities that women, and especially disadvantaged women, may have to get proper assistance with domestic violence. We conclude that enhanced screening, counseling, and referral by obstetricians and other health care providers are some of the immediate activities that could be implemented in prenatal care settings to address the compelling problems of violence during pregnancy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Maternity and Midwifery