One in five women who had complicated childbirth faced physical abuse during pregnancy: Study
Mumbai city news: The study by doctors of KEM and Wadia Hospitals suggests direct connection between violence against pregnant woman and the danger to mother and child.mumbai Updated: Jun 23, 2017 18:50 IST
One in every five women who had complicated childbirth faced physical abuse during pregnancy, says a study that looked at the connection between domestic violence and difficult pregnancies.
The study by doctors of KEM and Wadia Hospitals suggests direct connection between violence against pregnant woman and the danger to mother and child. The researchers said the statistical evidence is just the tip of the iceberg.
The questionnaire-based observational study was done over a span of one year. A total of 200 antenatal and postnatal patients seeking healthcare were enrolled after an informed consent with approval from the Institutional Ethics Committee. Participants were then divided in two groups of normal and complicated childbirths.
The study revealed that overall 12.5% of the pregnant women had faced domestic violence. The difference between the two groups was stark, with 7% of women with normal deliveries and 18% of women with complicated deliveries being victims of domestic violence.
Dr Vijyeta Jagtap, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Nawrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital points out in the study that there were a few cases of direct injury due to violence.
“One of them had blunt trauma to the abdomen due to hitting and kicking. Two patients presented with incomplete abortion due to direct trauma to the abdomen. In our study, 44% of the women admitted with threatened abortion or threatened preterm labour were also victims of domestic violence with no other aetiology identified,” said the researchers.
Dr Padmaja Samant, from KEM hospital, mentions in the study that the major reasons for conflict as stated by the patients were monetary reasons (most common), household work related, not allowing the use of contraception, alcohol addiction, want of a male child, second marriage and suspicion of infidelity.
“In 60% of the study population, the husband was illiterate or had not completed schooling. Out of them, 17.5% had faced domestic violence,” said Dr Samant in the study.
Also the frequency of incidents was high in the age group of 21-25 years. Almost 20% of the women were facing violence from the first year of marriage itself. “Majority of our patients belonged to joint family. Domestic violence was found in 10.56% of pregnant women from joint families and15.58% pregnant women from nuclear families” researchers added.
Doctors also found out how many women actually had a support system after the incident of violence or even raised an alarm. Shockingly, 16% of the victims of domestic violence had no coping mechanisms or support system available to them, and only 24% approached a social worker or filed police complaint.
“Four women out of twenty-five (16%) who were victims of domestic violence separated from their husband after an episode of severe conflict in current pregnancy,” said researchers, pointing out the need for a strong support mechanism for the women.
“Creating awareness and sensitivity amongst healthcare professionals and training them to identify and help these woman is the need of the hour. (We can) provide adequate space and privacy to deal with the issues and take help from trained psychologists and social workers of the hospital,” researchers said.