Partner violence among women before, during, and after pregnancy: multiple opportunities for intervention

Rebecca J Macy, Sandra L Martin, Lawrence L Kupper, Cecelia Casanueva, Shenyang Guo
Women's Health Issues: Official Publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health 2007, 17 (5): 290-9

OBJECTIVES: Although partner violence during pregnancy has serious consequences for women's health, little is known about how physical partner violence may change throughout pregnancy transitions. Even less is known about changes in sexual and psychological partner violence throughout pregnancy transitions. In addition, few research studies on pregnancy and partner violence have examined these changes among both victimized women (i.e., women who report physical partner violence at the beginning of their pregnancies) and comparison women (i.e., women who do not report physical partner violence during this same time period).

METHODS: This longitudinal research study investigated 76 women's experiences with partner violence beginning 1 year before their pregnancies, and continuing throughout their pregnancies until 1 year after delivery. Four structured interviews were administered to participants, and information was collected concerning the women's partner violence experiences. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to determine whether there were statistically significant differences between the violence rates experienced by the victimized women relative to the comparison women at each time period.

RESULTS: The results show that partner violence rates do change throughout pregnancy transitions, and that these changes are seen for both victimized and comparison women.

CONCLUSIONS: Pregnant and postpartum women are in need of comprehensive services that promote both their health and safety. This study offers care providers clinical implications for their work with pregnant and postpartum women, as well as policy and research recommendations.

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