Violence before pregnancy and the risk of violence during pregnancy

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Abstract

Objective:

To investigate the relationships among different forms of violence before and during pregnancy.

Material and methods:

An anonymous questionnaire (adapted NorAQ) was given to 1269 women after childbirth.

Results:

The response rate was 80% (n=1018). Different forms of violence were experienced by 46.9% of the women; 9.2% reported violence in pregnancy. Suffering from the consequences of violence was reported by 43.8% of the women; sexual (76.6%) and psychological (54.1%) ranked the highest. Past experience of any form of violence increased the risk of violence in pregnancy, violences experienced in adulthood even more than that in childhood [odds ratio (OR) 4.2, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.7-6.5 vs. OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.2-2.9]. The onset of violence during pregnancy is rare. Violence was most frequently exerted by the intimate partner.

Conclusion:

Healthcare systems have access to most women of reproductive age, thus they have the unique opportunity to identify and adequately manage violence against women and its consequences.

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