Objectives: To determine the magnitude of and factors associated with spousal abuse during pregnancy in women presenting to tertiary care hospitals in Karachi, Pakistan.
Methods: Five hundred women who delivered a live singleton baby were interviewed. Physical and/or emotional abuse during pregnancy (PEAP) was the primary outcome measure as determined by the World Health Organization's domestic violence module. Frequencies of different forms of abuse were measured and the relationship between PEAP and the risk factors was determined using multiple logistic regression.
Results: Of the women interviewed, 44% reported abuse during the index pregnancy; and of these, 43% experienced emotional abuse and 12.6% reported physical abuse. Factors independently associated with PEAP were number of living children (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.34; CI, 1.08-1.65), interfamilial conflicts (AOR 3.03; CI, 1.85-4.96), husband's exposure to maternal abuse (AOR, 2.38; CI, 1.41-4.02), and husband's use of tobacco (AOR 1.59; CI, 1.05-2.42). Women who had adequate social support were less likely to be abused by their husbands (AOR 0.65; CI, 0.51-0.82).
Conclusions: Almost half of the pregnant women interviewed were either physically or emotionally abused. Strong social support helps protect against abuse.