Objective: We identified the prevalence and types of violence experienced by pregnant women, the ways victimization changed during pregnancy from the year prior to pregnancy, and factors associated with violence during pregnancy.
Methods: We interviewed 914 pregnant women treated in health clinics in Mexico about violence during and prior to pregnancy, violence during childhood and against their own children, and other socioeconomic indicators.
Results: Approximately one quarter of the women experienced violence during pregnancy. The severity of emotional violence increased during pregnancy, whereas physical and sexual violence decreased. The strongest predictors of abuse were violence prior to pregnancy, low socioeconomic status, parental violence witnessed by women in childhood, and violence in the abusive partner's childhood. The probability of violence during pregnancy for women experiencing all of these factors was 61%.
Conclusions: Violence is common among pregnant women, but pregnancy does not appear to be an initiating factor. Intergenerational violence is highly predictive of violence during pregnancy.