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Violence Against Women. 2006 Jun;12(6):588-604.

A qualitative exploration of the nature of domestic violence in pregnancy.

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Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, Kings College London, and St. George's Hospital Medical School, UK.


This article presents a small, qualitative study of 16 women who had experienced domestic violence in the previous 12 months. The violence was perpetrated by a current or former partner in all but one case. Ten of the 16 women had experienced domestic violence during their recent pregnancy, of whom four women had also been assaulted in at least one previous pregnancy. Three women had been assaulted by their partners in a previous pregnancy but not during their recent pregnancy, and three had experienced domestic violence outside of pregnancy only. Some women reported increased feelings of insecurity, jealousy, and possessiveness in their partner during their pregnancy. Abuse within the relationship centered around the arrival and care of the new baby: financial worries, the woman's lessening physical and emotional availability during pregnancy, the lack of practical and emotional support from the male partner, and doubts about paternity.

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