Intimate Partner Violence and the Childbearing Year: Maternal and Infant Health Consequences

Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is a significant public health problem with negative physical and mental health consequences. Pregnant women are not immune to IPV, and as many as 4% to 8% of all pregnant women are victims of partner violence. Among pregnant women, IPV has been associated with poor physical health outcomes such as increased sexually transmitted diseases, preterm labor, and low-birth-weight infants. This article focuses on the physical health consequences of IPV for mothers and their infants. The purpose of this review is therefore to examine timely research ranging from 2001 to 2006 on IPV during pregnancy, the morbidity and mortality risks for mothers and their infants, and the association between IPV and perinatal health disparities. It will also identify gaps in the published empirical literature and make recommendations for practice, policy, and research.