May 6, 1992

Abuse of Pregnant Women and Adverse Birth OutcomeCurrent Knowledge and Implications for Practice

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital, and the Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass (Drs Newberger, Barkan, and McCormick and Mss Gary and Schechter); the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Harvard Medical School, and the Department of Maternal and Child Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass (Dr Lieberman); and the Department of Sociology, Wheaton College, Norton, Mass (Dr Yllo).

JAMA. 1992;267(17):2370-2372. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480170096037

ABUSE of pregnant women is not rare. The prevalence of physical assault of women during pregnancy has been estimated at 8% in a random sample drawn from public and private prenatal clinics,1 and between 7% and 11% in nonrandom samples drawn from university obstetric clinic services.2,3 Rates of overall violence against pregnant women gathered by the Second National Family Violence Survey4 were as follows: 154 acts of violence per 1000 during the first 4 months of pregnancy and 170 acts of violence per 1000 women during the fifth through ninth months. (Pregnant women's risk of what was characterized as "abusive violence" was 60.6% greater than that of nonpregnant women in this national probability sample of 6002 households, but this was interpreted as an artifact of age because women under 25 years of age were more likely both to be pregnant and to be abused by husbands and