Objective: To describe timing and severity of abuse before and during pregnancy for African American, Hispanic, and white Anglo American women.
Findings: Among 199 abused women, 18.1% of the women were abused during pregnancy but not the year before, 30.2% were abused the year before but not during pregnancy, and 51.8% were abused both the year before and during pregnancy. The timing of abuse did not vary by ethnicity. The three (ethnicity) by three (timing) factorial analysis of variance showed severity of abuse to vary by timing of abuse. Women reporting abuse both before and during pregnancy reported greater severity of abuse on each of the five measures than did women abused only before pregnancy or only during pregnancy.
Conclusions: Over half (51.8%) of the women reported abuse before and during pregnancy with these women reporting greater severity of abuse on all five severity scores. Timing and severity of abuse did not vary by ethnic group. The majority of women abused during pregnancy were also abused prior to pregnancy, indicating the need for universal screening of all women during each health encounter. © 1999 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.