Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most common form of violence against women worldwide. IPV during pregnancy is an important risk factor for adverse health outcomes for women and their offspring. However, the prevalence of IPV during pregnancy is not well understood in China. The objective of this study was to estimate the pooled prevalence of IPV during pregnancy in China using a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods: Systematic literature searches were conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, CNKI, Wanfang, Weipu and CBM databases to identify relevant articles published from the inception of each database to January 31, 2016 that reported data on the prevalence of IPV during pregnancy in China. The Risk of Bias Tool for prevalence studies was used to assess the risk of bias in individual studies. Owing to significant between-study heterogeneity, a random-effects model was used to calculate the pooled prevalence and corresponding 95% confidence interval, and then univariate meta-regression analyses were performed to investigate the sources of heterogeneity. Subgroup analysis was conducted to explore the risk factors associated with IPV during pregnancy.
Results: Thirteen studies with a total of 30,665 individuals were included in this study. The overall pooled prevalence of IPV during pregnancy was 7.7% (95% CI: 5.6-10.1%) with significant heterogeneity (I2 = 97.8%, p < 0.001). The results of the univariate meta-regression analyses showed that only the variable "sample source" explained part of the heterogeneity in this study (p < 0.05). The characteristics "number of children" and "unplanned pregnancy" were determined as risk factors for experiencing violence during pregnancy.
Conclusions: The prevalence of IPV during pregnancy in China is considerable and one of the highest reported in Asia, which suggests that issues of violence against women during pregnancy should be included in efforts to improve the health of pregnant women and their offspring. In addition, a nationwide epidemiological study is needed to confirm the prevalence estimates and identify more risk factors for IPV during pregnancy.