Violence against pregnant women: prevalence and characteristics. A population-based study in Nicaragua
Article first published online: 3 AUG 2005
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Special Issue: Developing World Issue
Volume 112, Issue 9, pages 1243–1248, September 2005
How to Cite
Valladares, E., Peña, R., Persson, L. Å. and Högberg, U. (2005), Violence against pregnant women: prevalence and characteristics. A population-based study in Nicaragua. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 112: 1243–1248. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2005.00621.x
- Issue published online: 3 AUG 2005
- Article first published online: 3 AUG 2005
Objective This study aims to estimate the prevalence and characteristics of partner abuse during pregnancy as well as to investigate associated social factors in León, Nicaragua.
Design Cross-sectional community-based study.
Setting All pregnant women from 50 randomly selected geographical clusters out of 208 in the municipality of León, Nicaragua.
Sample A total of 478 pregnant women were included; only one woman refused to participate.
Method The domestic violence questionnaire from the WHO-co-ordinated Multi-Country Study on Women's Health and Life Events was used with each participant being interviewed twice during pregnancy.
Main outcome measures Prevalence and characteristics of partner violence during pregnancy.
Results The prevalence of emotional, physical and sexual abuse during pregnancy was 32.4%, 13.4% and 6.7%, respectively. Seventeen percent reported experience of all three forms of violence. Two-thirds of the victims reported repeated abuse. Half of the abused women had experienced punches and kicks directed towards the abdomen and 93% had been injured. Most women had not sought health care in relation to the abuse, but those who did were usually hospitalised. Factors such as women's age below 20 years, poor access to social resources and high levels of emotional distress were independently associated with violence during pregnancy.
Conclusion Violence against pregnant women in Nicaragua is common and often repeated. Although these women have poor access to social resources and high levels of emotional distress, they are rarely assisted by the health services. Innovative strategies are needed to provide support and counselling.