Objectives: The purpose of this study was to measure the prevalence of exposure to intimate partner violence during pregnancy and to determine whether such exposure is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Study design: We measured the prevalence of exposure to intimate partner violence and fear of a partner during pregnancy among 4750 residents of Vancouver, British Columbia, who gave birth between January 1999 and December 2000. We undertook a multivariate analysis to examine the associations with second- or third-trimester hemorrhage, preterm labor and delivery, intrauterine growth restriction, and perinatal death.
Results: We report a prevalence rate of 1.2% for exposure to physical violence by an intimate partner during pregnancy and 1.5% for fear of a partner. Physical violence was associated with an increased risk of antepartum hemorrhage (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 3.79, 95% CI 1.38-10.40), intrauterine growth restriction (OR: 3.06, 95% CI 1.02-9.14), and perinatal death (OR: 8.06, 95% CI 1.42-45.63). Fear of a partner in the absence of physical violence was not associated with an elevated risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Conclusion: Our study confirms prior work reporting an association of physical abuse during pregnancy with intrauterine growth retardation and, in addition, reports an association with antepartum hemorrhage and perinatal death.