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Intimate Partner Violence in Pregnancy - Domestic Violence

Signs of Abuse


Abused women come from all backgrounds and socioeconomic areas. There are barriers to determining who has suffered abuse because of fear of reprisal from the violent partner, lack of knowledgeable viable alternatives to money and housing issues, and embarrassment that she is even in this situation. Practitioners need to be sensitive to these issues.

Common signs might be:

  • Delay in seeking prenatal care
  • Unexplained bruising or damage to her breasts or abdomen
  • Continued use of products harmful to pregnancy (cigarettes, drugs, alcohol)
  • Reoccurring psychosomatic illnesses
  • Lack of attendance to prenatal education

Getting Help

Help is available for those involved in abusive relationships. Many states have programs to provide you with shelter and clothing, even prenatal care. The American Institute on Domestic Violence has a great page of resources, including a state by state listing of organizations. There is also a listing of international sites available. Remember, that help is available, and you are not alone. Please, for your sake and your baby's do not delay in seeking help, your lives may depend on it.

"National Domestic Violence Hotline: If you are, or know someone who is, the victim of intimate partner violence, contact your local battered women's shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233), 800-787-3224 TYY." from the CDC

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Intimate Partner Violence. Last accessed October 30 2010.

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National Association for County and City Health Offcials (NACCHO). Intimate Partner Violence among Pregnant and Parenting Women: Local Health Department Strategies for Assessment, Intervention, and Prevention. 2008.

Newberger E, Barkan S, Lieberman E, et al. Abuse of pregnant women and adverse birth outcome.
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Petersen R, Gazmararian J, Spitz A, et al. Violence and adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Am J Prev Med 1997;13(5):366-73.

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