Premature births linked to physical abuse

February 22, 2008

Premature birth can have serious effects on the development and growth of children. In many parts of the world, preterm deliveries are increasing in frequency. In a study published in the February 2008 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers from the University of Porto Medical School and the Hospital S. João, Porto, Portugal, found that there was a strong link between physical abuse during pregnancy and premature births.

Using a well-validated questionnaire, the Abuse Assessment Screen, 2660 Caucasian women consecutively delivered of singleton births at the Hospital S. João were surveyed to assess their experiences during pregnancy. This survey captured demographic, behavioral and obstetric data, including the type and frequency of physical abuse, if any.

Twenty-four percent of mothers of preterm newborn infants had experienced physical abuse during pregnancy compared with 8% of mothers of term newborn infants. Violence was associated with preterm birth even after controlling for age, marital status, education, income, parity, planned pregnancy, antenatal care, smoking, alcohol, and illicit drugs use.

Writing in the article, Teresa Rodrigues, MD, states, “The main strengths of this study are its large sample size, the high participation rate; the inclusion of women from virtually all social and economic strata and a broad range of pregnancy and delivery risk profiles. Assessment of violence exposure took place with guaranteed privacy, through face-to-face interviews that used highly trained personnel.” She emphasizes that women are not generally evaluated during pregnancy for physical abuse and that this study suggests that physicians should recognize such abuse as a risk factor for preterm delivery and address this issue with patients.

Source: Elsevier Health Sciences

Explore further: Specialist explains why age 13 to 15 is ideal for the first gynecologist visit

Related Stories

Specialist explains why age 13 to 15 is ideal for the first gynecologist visit

January 17, 2018
Most parents are well-versed in schedules for their kids. They know to schedule an annual physical—or else the school nurse will call, or their child can't join the soccer team. They know when their kids need to start dental ...

Who's in control when you're giving birth?

December 5, 2017
Kimberly Turbin wasn't expecting childbirth to be a pleasant experience, but she wasn't expecting it to be a nightmare either.

Pregnant women with PTSD have higher levels of stress hormone cortisol

December 5, 2017
Research has shown that a woman's emotional and physical health during pregnancy impacts a developing fetus. However, less is known about the effect of past stressors and posttraumatic stress disorder on an expectant woman.

Study links domestic abuse to mental health problems in new mothers

April 14, 2014
A new study shows that domestic abuse is closely linked to postpartum mental health problems, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), in mothers. The research also found that specific types of abuse ...

How childhood trauma can affect mental and physical health into adulthood

May 24, 2017
For millions of children in the U.S., poverty, neglect or abuse is a reality of everyday life, though these struggles are often hidden from view.

Children with specific birth defects at increased risk for abuse

December 10, 2015
Children born with cleft lip or palate and spina bifida are at an increased risk for abuse before the age of 2, according to researchers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).The results ...

Recommended for you

Just a few minutes of light intensity exercise linked to lower death risk in older men

February 19, 2018
Clocking up just a few minutes at a time of any level of physical activity, including of light intensity, is linked to a lower risk of death in older men, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are not associated with risk of heart attacks

February 16, 2018
New research from the University of Southampton has found no association between the use of calcium or vitamin D supplementation and cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.

Women who clean at home or work face increased lung function decline

February 16, 2018
Women who work as cleaners or regularly use cleaning sprays or other cleaning products at home appear to experience a greater decline in lung function over time than women who do not clean, according to new research published ...

Study shows options to decrease risk of motor vehicle crashes for adolescent drivers

February 16, 2018
Adolescents who receive comprehensive and challenging on-road driving assessments prior to taking the license test might be protected from future motor vehicle crashes, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study ...

Being a single dad can shorten your life: study

February 15, 2018
The risk of dying prematurely more than doubles for single fathers compared to single mothers or paired-up dads, according to a study of Canadian families published Thursday.

Keeping an eye on the entire ageing process

February 15, 2018
Medical researchers often only focus on a single disease. As older people often suffer from multiple diseases at the same time, however, we need to rethink this approach, writes Ralph Müller.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.