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Delayed Entry Into Prenatal Care: Effect of Physical Violence

DIETZ, PATRICIA M. DrPH; GAZMARARIAN, JULIE A. PhD; GOODWIN, MARY M. MPA; BRUCE, F. CAROL MPH; JOHNSON, CHRISTOPHER H. MS; ROCHAT, ROGER W. MD
Obstetrics & Gynecology: August 1997
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Objective To assess whether women who experienced physical violence by their partner during the 12 months before delivery were more likely to delay entry into prenatal care than were women who had not experienced physical violence.

Methods We analyzed data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. The sample included 27,836 women who delivered live infants during 1993-1994 in nine states and were surveyed 2-6 months after delivery. We calculated risk ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) to measure the association between physical violence within the 12 months before delivery and entry into prenatal care.

Results The prevalence of delayed entry into prenatal care (entering after the first trimester) was 18.1% and that of reported physical violence was 4.7%. Overall, women who experienced physical violence were 1.8 times more likely (95% CI 1.5, 2.1) to have delayed entry into prenatal care than women who had not experienced such violence. When stratifying by selected maternal characteristics, this association was found only for groups of women who were 25 years of age or older or were of higher socioeconomic status.

Conclusion Older women and women of higher socioeconomic status who reported physical violence were more likely to delay entry into prenatal care than younger or less.

Address reprint requests to: Patricia M. Dietz, DrPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS K-22, 4770 Buford Highway NE, Atlanta, GA 30341-3714. E-mail: pad8@cdc.gov

© 1997 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists