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Domestic Violence during Pregnancy

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Pregnancy can cause stress in any relationship, and it's a common cause of violence in the home. Nearly 3,500 pregnant women in Utah experience emotional, physical or sexual abuse each year by a current or former husband or partner. Pregnancy is a very vulnerable time period for women in abusive relationships.

Studies show that emotional abuse and violence may begin or get worse during pregnancy. According to a survey of pregnant women in Utah, one in fourteen women reported that they were victims of abuse during pregnancy.

Studies show that intimate partner violence during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, low birth weight babies, and fetal injury or even death.

Studies show that pregnant teens in a violent relationship are in even greater risk for pregnancy complications, injury, and death.

A pregnant woman in an unsafe relationship can talk to her prenatal care provider about resources. Prenatal care offers a great opportunity to get help because of the frequent doctor visits throughout pregnancy.

Women who live in an abusive relationship may feel embarrassed and ashamed, and often think that they are to blame. Nobody deserves to be abused and it is highly unlikely that the abuser will stop the behavior.

Abuse, which is not screened, is more common for pregnant women than gestational diabetes or preeclampsia -- conditions for which pregnant women are routinely screened.

Abuse is preventable! If you are in a relationship where you are afraid or are in danger of being harmed, get help. Call 1-800-897-LINK (5465) or contact someone for help and information at the Utah Domestic Violence Council. You don't have to give your name or any ID. Immigrant women in abusive relationships often find themselves in frightening circumstances because her abuser may use her freedom as a bargaining tool.

You may also ask your doctor or nurse or another trusted person to help you make a safety plan. You might be feeling very scared at the thought of leaving, but you've got to do it for yourself and your baby. Learn More>>

The violence or emotional abuse will probably not stop after your baby is born. In fact, it is likely that your child will become the next victim. Research shows that child abuse occurs in anywhere from one-third to more than three-quarters of families where a parent is also being abused.

If you are not sure that your partner is abusing you or, if you have any questions, please read "The Cycle of Abuse" and/or call 1-800-897-5465 or 1-800-826-9662 for answers to your questions. You may also contact someone for help and information at the UDVC.

For more information about domestic violence in Utah, visit:

http://health.utah.gov/vipp/domesticViolence/overview.html

http://www.udvc.org/linkline.htm