What Factors in Early Pregnancy Indicate that the Mother Will Be Hit by Her Partner during the Year after Childbirth?
A Nationwide Swedish Survey

Authors


  • Ingela Rådestad is Associate Professor and Marie Ebeling works at the Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences, Mälardalens University, Västerås; Christine Rubertsson is at the Department of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm; and Ingegerd Hildingsson is at the Department of Caring and Public Health Sciences, Mälardalens University, Västerås, and at the Department of Nursing, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

  • Funding for this study was provided by The Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority, Umeå, Sweden, and the Vårdal Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden.

*Ingela Rådestad, Associate Professor, Department of Caring and Public Sciences, Mälardalen University, Box 883, SE- 721 23 Västerås, Sweden.

Abstract

Abstract: Background: To be hit by one's intimate partner during the first year after childbirth may affect a woman's health and ability to take care of her newborn. The purpose of this study was to document the prevalence and indicators in early pregnancy of a woman being hit by her partner during the year after childbirth. Method: Information was collected by a postal questionnaire in early pregnancy and 12 months after childbirth from the approximately 5,550 women in Sweden who visited an antenatal care clinic for the first time during one of three chosen weeks in 1999 and 2000. Results: Of the 3,266 recruited women, 2,563 returned the follow-up questionnaire. Being hit during the first year after childbirth was reported by 52 of the 2,563 (2%) women: 32 (61%) had been hit by their partner once, 12 (23%) twice, and 8 (15%) three or more times. Risk increased in women who were age 24 years or younger (3.9% had been hit), unmarried (7.1%), born in countries outside Europe (6.8%), with a partner born outside Europe (5.4%), had a low level of education (8.9%), and were unemployed (5.0%). In early pregnancy, women with back pain (4.0%), a chronic illness (4.1%), coital pain (6.1%), frequent depression-related symptoms (8.1%), stomach pain (3.8%), or a urinary tract problem (6.3%) were hit more often than others after childbirth. Conclusions: At least 2 percent of Swedish women giving birth in 2000 were hit by their partner during the year after childbirth. Using identified predictors during antenatal care may increase the likelihood of finding women at risk, thereby enhancing the possibility of interventions to prevent this crime and health hazard.

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