Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a common occurrence in pregnancy and results in an increased risk of adverse outcomes. Homicide may be the most common cause of maternal death. Women who are pregnant and the victims of IPV have high rates of stress, are more likely to smoke or use other drugs, deliver a preterm or low birth weight infant, have an increase in infectious complications, and are less likely to obtain prenatal care. The IPV continues in the postpartum period. Adolescents may be at even higher risk than their adult counterparts. Children raised in violent homes have both immediate and life long adverse health outcomes as a result of their exposure to IPV. IPV adds substantially to healthcare costs both for direct services to treat the injuries and higher utilization of a wide range of healthcare services. Healthcare providers, particularly those who care for pregnant women, are in a unique position to identify these women and direct them and their families to the help they need to end the violence in their lives.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Department of Labor and Delivery, Saint Mary's Health center, Saint Louis, Missouri
Correspondence: Linda R. Chambliss, MD, MPH, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Saint Mary's Health Center, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 6420 Clayton Road, Suite 559, Saint Louis, MO 63117. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org