Domestic Abuse during pregnancy

Pregnancy should be a time of happiness and excitement for women. It should be time where there is a lot of celebration and laughter in the household and a time of anticipation. However, for some women, pregnancy is neither the time of joy nor celebration. For some women, pregnancy is the beginning of a traumatic experience in their lives.

It is estimated that at least one in five women are abused while they are pregnant. And these women who are abused suffer a lot of complications and problems, which include:

  • Trauma to the abdomen
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Uterine rupture
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Premature labor
  • Low birthweight
  • Premature rupture of the membranes

What you need to know

Most women will not speak up against their abuse due to fear, lack of knowledge and also embarrassment. So, if you think you know someone who is being abused, you need to be sensitive to her problem and look for signs. These include:

  • Delay in seeking prenatal care or prenatal education
  • Bruises to her breasts or abdomen
  • Use of cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, anti-depressants
  • Depressed or Suicidal
  • Unable to sleep
  • Lack of appetite
  • Low self-esteem or enthusiasm

What you can do

Leaving an abusive relationship especially when the woman is pregnant can be very tough. Sometimes, she may not know where to go or where to seek help. So, as her friend, you will want to help her and be there for her. Be the friend that she can trust and talk about her problems with you.

If you are the pregnant woman who is being abused, look for support from friends and family. Talk to them about your problems and see what they can do to help you. Also, make a plan to escape in case of emergency and have all your clothes, medications, and passport ready. There is a lot of help available for women in abusive relationships. So, it is important for you to know that you are not alone.

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