Introduction: Intimate partner violence against women (IPV) is regarded increasingly as a public health problem worldwide. The overall aim of this study was to examine the associations between different exposures to IPV and women's mental health during pregnancy and after childbirth in rural Vietnam.
Methods: This was a secondary analysis of data generated in a community-based longitudinal investigation in which a cohort of pregnant women were recruited and followed until 6 months after childbirth. Different forms of IPV were measured by the Intimate Partner Violence section of the WHO Multi-Country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence Against Women questionnaire. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale-Vietnam Validation was used to assess symptoms of the common perinatal mental disorders of depression and anxiety (CPMD).
Results: Overall, 497 women were recruited and complete data were available from 417 (83.9%). Exposure to either lifetime or perinatal IPV including emotional abuse, physical violence and sexual violence was associated with increased CPMD symptoms (adjusted odds ratio, OR, ranges 1.3-14.3) and suicidal thoughts (OR ranges 4.7-6.1) in women during pregnancy and after childbirth. Experiencing more than one form of IPV increased the magnitude of the association between IPV and CPMD symptoms and thoughts of suicide.
Conclusion: It is clearly essential in this and other resource-constrained settings to address emotional, physical and sexual violence perpetrated by an intimate partner in any strategies to reduce the risk of perinatal mental health problems in women.
Keywords: Intimate partner violence; Perinatal common mental disorders; Vietnam; Women.