Screening for intimate partner violence in the early postpartum period: Maternal and child health and social outcomes from birth to 5-years post-delivery

Child Abuse Negl. 2021 Jan;111:104865. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104865. Epub 2020 Dec 16.


Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy is a substantial public health concern, yet little is known about the developmental trajectory of these women and their children after birth.

Objective: The objective was to examine maternal and child health as well as social outcomes from birth to 5-years post-delivery associated with a positive (vs. negative) maternal IPV screen around the time of delivery.

Participants and setting: Manitoban women giving birth to a live singleton infant from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2006 were followed from birth to 5-years post-delivery (analytic sample: N = 40,051).

Methods: Administrative databases from the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy provided data for the study. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were used to examine relationships between IPV screen response around the time of birth (i.e., current, or history of, violence between parenting partners) with maternal and child health as well as social outcomes.

Results: Women screening positive for IPV had increased odds of diagnosed mood/anxiety disorders, personality disorders, substance use disorders, diabetes, respiratory morbidity, and intentional/non-intentional injury hospitalizations (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] range 1.81-5.59, p < .01). Children of women screening positive for IPV had increased odds of diagnosed attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, lower respiratory infections, and injury hospitalizations (AOR range 1.53-2.00, p < .01), child welfare organization contact (AOR = 8.84, p < .01), and of being more developmentally vulnerable at kindergarten across domains of functioning (AOR range 1.69-1.93, p < .01) than children of mothers screening negative for IPV.

Conclusion: A positive IPV screen was associated with poorer maternal and child health, increased child and family services contact, and children being more developmentally vulnerable in the 5-years after delivery.

Keywords: Child health; Intimate partner violence; Maternal health; Postpartum health; Prenatal violence; Prenatal violence exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Abscess
  • Child Health
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Postpartum Period / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Social Participation