Please cite this paper as: Nerum H, Halvorsen L, Øian P, Sørlie T, Straume B, Blix E. Birth outcomes in primiparous women who were raped as adults: a matched controlled study. BJOG 2010;117:288–294.
Objective To compare the duration of labour and the birth outcome in a group of primiparous women who had been raped after the age of 16, with a control group from the same birth cohort.
Design Cohort study.
Setting University Hospital of North Norway.
Sample Fifty women raped as adults and 150 controls.
Methods Data about birth outcomes in the first pregnancy were collected from the patient files and data concerning the assault were obtained in a subsequent pregnancy through consultations with the women who had been raped. Birth outcomes in the group of women who had been raped were compared with matched controls using a multivariable logistic regression model.
Main outcome measures Caesarean section, operative vaginal delivery and duration of labour.
Results During their first delivery, the women who had been raped had an increased risk for caesarean section (adjusted odds ratio 15.7, 95% CI 5.0–49.1) and for assisted vaginal delivery (adjusted odds ratio 13.1, 95% CI 4.9–34.5) when compared with controls. The group of women who had been raped had a longer second stage of labour than the control group (120 versus 55 minutes, P < 0.01). They were more often single mothers, unemployed and smokers, and had a higher body mass index and more previous pregnancy terminations and miscarriages than the control group.
Conclusions The women who had been raped had a longer second stage of labour, and an increased risk of caesarean section and operative vaginal delivery compared with controls from the general birth cohort. These findings indicate that the consequences for delivery for women who had been raped as adults could be specific and may warrant particular attention. The birth experience of women who had been raped should also be illuminated in future studies.