Intimate Partner Violence Against Pregnant Victims

I want to focus on reproductive coercion in IPV. Discussing domestic violence against pregnant women, we should note that the problem significantly increases the risks of obstetric complications in DV victims. These complications may be different, and they are caused both by physical and psychological violence since pregnant women are more susceptible to stress. Importantly, the fact of pregnancy often presents an independent sign of IPV, and it is possible that it has to deal with the case under analysis.

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Nowadays, the cases of reproductive coercion are common even in countries with developed economies, where the majority of women have access to contraception (Baird, Creedy, & Mitchell, 2017). According to the study conducted by Baird et al. (2017) in the UK, the key factors describing the connection between IPV and pregnancy are “women’s mixed feelings about the pregnancy, men’s control of contraception, and limited influence over sexual relationship” (p. 2399). The presence of unintended pregnancies is strictly associated with sexual dominance in men, and this is why asking the patient about her sexual activity and the use of contraceptives would help detect IPV. The negative consequences of reproductive control are numerous since any outcomes of unwanted pregnancy (miscarriages, abortions, or successful deliveries) can contribute to mental health issues. The intentions of the patient’s boyfriend related to contraception sabotage or abortion coercion should also be established in the case to provide proper care (Silverman & Raj, 2014).

I would like to further discuss different types of IPV since their role in pregnancy complications and mental health issues is sometimes underestimated. Thus, emotional or psychological abuse is often mistaken for usual conflicts, whereas only physical aggression is regarded as “real” violence due to its immediate health effects. The prevalence of emotional abuse may vary depending on socio-demographic characteristics of pregnant women, and it supposed to be more common in countries where women are more protected when it comes to physical violence (Lukasse et al., 2014).

Emotional abuse in relationships between adults can take different forms, and its impact on IPT victims’ mental health is detrimental in various cultures. Interestingly, there is evidence that its outcomes can be much more dangerous than these of physical violence. For instance, exposure to coercive control and other forms of emotional abuse is strictly associated with the occurrence of suicidal thoughts, whereas the link between physical aggression and suicidal ideation is weaker (Wolford-Clevenger et al., 2017). Common forms of emotional/psychological abuse such as humiliation, hostile withdrawal, and dominance contribute to the feeling of hopelessness in both sexes (Wolford-Clevenger et al., 2017).

When it comes to pregnant women from different age groups, special attention must be paid to their partners’ willingness to limit their social contacts since this form of emotional abuse often remains unrecognized. Another reason to focus on emotional violence against pregnant women is the relationships between its detrimental impact on health and gender differences. Previous studies in the field indicate that the degree to which exposure to emotional abuse predicts suicidal thoughts and behavior is greater in women, whereas male victims find it more difficult to cope with physical violence (Wolford-Clevenger et al., 2017).


Baird, K., Creedy, D., & Mitchell, T. (2017). Intimate partner violence and pregnancy intentions: A qualitative study. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26(15-16), 2399-2408.

Lukasse, M., Schroll, A. M., Ryding, E. L., Campbell, J., Karro, H., Kristjansdottir, H.,… Van Parys, A. S. (2014). Prevalence of emotional, physical and sexual abuse among pregnant women in six European countries. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 93(7), 669-677.

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Silverman, J. G., & Raj, A. (2014). Intimate partner violence and reproductive coercion: Global barriers to women’s reproductive control. PLoS Medicine, 11(9), e1001723. Web.

Wolford-Clevenger, C., Grigorian, H., Brem, M., Florimbio, A., Elmquist, J., & Stuart, G. L. (2017). Associations of emotional abuse types with suicide ideation among dating couples. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 26(9), 1042-1054.

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