Background: Violence during pregnancy is a significant health and social problem. In the last few years several factors have contributed to the emergence of family violence as a high priority social and health issue in Jordan, and the acknowledgement that abuse during pregnancy is a harmful act to the mother and the fetus. The purposes of this study were to investigate the prevalence of physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual violence on pregnant women, and to describe the relationships between violence and selected study variables.
Methods: A descriptive study was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire. A convenience sample of 316 pregnant women was recruited from five Maternal and Child Health Centers, located in Irbid City in the North of Jordan.
Results: The prevalence of physical, emotional, verbal and sexual violence by husbands during pregnancy was 10.4%, 23.4%, 23.7%, and 5.7%, respectively. Prevalence of physical, emotional and verbal violence by a family member other than the husband was 1.9%, 11.1% and 13.9%, respectively, and most perpetrators were the mother in-law. Data also showed that there was a significant association between prevalence of violence and unplanned pregnancy, the pregnant women's perception of their husband's violent attributes and the women's low self-esteem. Pre- and post-natal visits should include assessment for family violence and intervention when violence or abuse is identified. The findings support continued public awareness of family violence to bring about social and political changes that increase reporting and reduce incidence of violence in Jordan.