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.
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.
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.
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.
2004. Vol. 31, no 2, 84-92 p.