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Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Jul;106(1):61-5.

A prospective observational study of domestic violence during pregnancy.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, 75390, USA. nicole.yost@utsouthwestern.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess whether women reporting domestic violence are at increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes.

METHODS:

A screening questionnaire, previously validated for the identification of female victims of domestic violence, was offered to women presenting to our Labor and Delivery Unit. The survey prompted women to indicate whether her partner or family member physically hurt her, insulted or talked down to her, threatened her with harm, or screamed or cursed at her. The primary study outcome was to detect a 3-fold increase in low birth weight infants (< or = 2,500 g) in women reporting physical abuse, compared with those not reporting domestic violence.

RESULTS:

A total of 16,041 women were approached to be interviewed. Of these, 949 (6%) women responded affirmatively to one or more of the survey questions, and another 94 (0.6%) declined to be interviewed. The incidence of low birth weight infants was significantly increased in women who reported verbal abuse, compared with the no-abuse group (7.6% versus 5.1%, respectively, P = .002). Physical abuse was associated with an increased risk of neonatal death (1.5% versus 0.2%, P = .004). Interestingly, women who declined to be interviewed had significantly increased rates of low birth weight infants (12.8% versus 5.1%, P < .001), preterm birth at 32 weeks of gestation or less (5.3% versus 1.2%, P = .002), placental abruptions (2.1% versus 0.2%, P < .001), and neonatal intensive care admissions (7.4% versus 2.2%, P = .008) when compared with women in the no-abuse group, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

Women who declined to be surveyed regarding domestic violence were at increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcome.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

II-2.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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