Intimate partner violence and its association with pregnancy loss and pregnancy planning

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To examine the effect of physical partner violence on pregnancy loss and unplanned pregnancy. Design. Cross-sectional, self-reported questionnaire survey. Setting. A maternity ward of a university hospital in Munich, Germany. Sample. Women who gave birth within the previous seven days. Methods. The effects of physical partner violence on pregnancy loss and unplanned pregnancy were estimated using descriptive statistics based on χ2 tests, bivariate logistic regression and multivariate logistic regression. Main Outcome Measures. Physical partner violence was assessed using the Abuse Assessment Screen, information on pregnancy loss was derived from women's medical files and the assessment of pregnancy planning was based on women's self-reports. Results. The survey had a response rate of 73%; 29% of the women experienced pregnancy loss, 13% reported that their last pregnancy was unplanned and 4% revealed physical violence by a current or previous partner. Physical partner violence was significantly associated with pregnancy loss (odds ratio 8.33, 95% confidence interval 2.01–34.59) and unplanned last pregnancy (odds ratio 5.03, 95% confidence interval 1.21–21.26), even after adjusting for other commonly known explanatory factors, such as number of children, women's age and women's and their partners' education level and employment, marital status, financial situation and support during pregnancy. Conclusions. Physical partner violence is an important factor in understanding pregnancy loss and unplanned pregnancy. Inquiring about the existence of intimate partner violence among these women might help to identify women in need of domestic violence services.

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