October 7, 2016 – Scope of Abuse


Anchor lead:  Partner abuse during pregnancy is much more common than you might think, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Are you aware of just how big a problem domestic abuse during pregnancy is?  Phyllis Sharps, an expert in the field at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, reviews what’s known.

Sharps: Anywhere from 9% to almost 20% of all women will report being abused during a pregnancy. I like to think of it also as that childbearing year because you’re pregnant for about nine months and then there’s the three months or so, what we call the early postpartum period, right after the baby’s born, that sometimes if there was a pause during the pregnancy it may escalate again right after the baby’s born.  :26

Sharps and colleagues have just published a study on an intervention known by the acronym DOVE that reduces instances of domestic violence against pregnant women.  The intervention is carried out by health care providers who visit women at home, and is integrated into a comprehensive health assessment. Women who’ve received the intervention report benefits up to two years later.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.