Prevention of Battering During Pregnancy: Focus on Behavioral Change

Authors

  • Anne Helton R.N., M.S.,

    Corresponding author
    1. All authors are affiliated with the March of Dimes, Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, 6910 Fannin, Houston, Texas 77030.
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  • Judith McFarlane R.N.C., Dr.P.H.,

    Corresponding author
    1. All authors are affiliated with the March of Dimes, Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, 6910 Fannin, Houston, Texas 77030.
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  • Elizabeth Anderson R.N.C., Dr.P.H.

    Corresponding author
    1. All authors are affiliated with the March of Dimes, Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, 6910 Fannin, Houston, Texas 77030.
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Address correspondence to authors at Texas Woman's University, College of Nursing, 1130 MD Anderson, Houston, Texas 77030.

Abstract

To establish the prevalence of battering during pregnancy, 290 black, white, and hispanic women attending public and private prenatal clinics were randomly selected and interviewed. In all, 36 percent had been battered or were at risk for battering. Injuries included slaps, kicks, punches, broken bones, choking, and sexual assault. None of the pregnant women reported being assessed for abuse by their health care provider. To prevent the battering of pregnant women, an educational program was initiated based on a model of behavior change. Behavioral change expected was increased knowledge and routine abuse assessment by health professionals. This program was applied to 841 health providers working with pregnant women. After completing the program, 75 percent of the participants were assessing pregnant women for physical abuse or in the process of developing an assessment protocol.

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