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Journal Article


Jeanjot I, Barlow P, Rozenberg S. J. Womens Health (Larchmont) 2008; 17(4): 557-567.


Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Free Universities of Brussels (VUB-ULB) CHU Saint-Pierre, 1000 Brussels, Belgium.


(Copyright © 2008, Mary Ann Liebert Publishers)






Background: Domestic violence is a major public health problem; surveys report that 3%-17% of pregnant women suffer from it during their pregnancy, endangering fetal and maternal health. First, we aim (1) to estimate the prevalence of domestic violence in women who had been admitted to the maternity department of a public hospital that provides healthcare to a multicultural population, (2) to identify risk factors for domestic violence, and (3) to evaluate obstetrical complications. Second, we aim (4) to evaluate the attitude of healthcare providers toward screening for domestic violence. Methods: For six consecutive weeks, 200 women were systematically interviewed and screened for domestic violence in the early postpartum; 56 healthcare providers were interviewed. Results: Twenty-two women [11%] were victims of violence during their recent pregnancy. These women have less family and social support than nonabused women, have fewer stable relationships, and suffer more frequently from affective disorders. There were no differences in terms of obstetrical complications. Most healthcare providers do not systematically screen for domestic violence during pregnancy because of language and cultural barriers, fear of shocking the patient, and lack of competence in how to manage the problem. Conclusions: Systematic screening for domestic violence should be recommended during pregnancy, considering its high prevalence.

Language: en


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