Domestic abuse occurs when a person is abused physically, emotionally or sexually by their partner. Domestic abuse in pregnancy is actually quite common. Research shows that approximately 25% of all pregnant women are abused to some degree and unfortunately, the numbers are on the rise. Many pregnant women report to the emergency room with injuries that were sustained as a result of domestic violence.
Some women believe that if they get pregnant, their partner will change their abusive ways. In reality, this is rarely the outcome. Most women that have experienced abuse from their partner in the past are likely to experience it again. According to research, the violence usually becomes more severe with each attack.
Unfortunately, most women that are abused try to cover it up. They are often afraid that people will think badly of them if they found out they were abused. It is common for an abused woman to wear sunglasses, long sleeve shirts, long pants and other items that can hide bruises. If someone were to ask them about the possibility of abuse, they often make up stories to cover up the incident. Women that are sufferers of domestic violence will often say they ran into a wall, fell down or some other type of accident to take the blame off of their abusive partner. Some women blame themselves for being abused and are afraid that if they tell someone what is going on their partner will attack them again. There are also abused women that are rarely allowed to leave the home and do not have the money or transportation to leave for help.
Because domestic violence is a crime, any woman that is abused should contact local authorities. There are shelters in almost every city and town for battered women that can assist a woman in getting the help that she needs when she is being abused. All women that are being abused should find a trusted friend, relative, therapist or medical professional that they can share their thoughts with.
When abuse is present, it is dangerous for both mother and baby. Often the attacker is looking to hurt their victim and a pregnant woman's growing abdomen is likely to be attacked. An abusive partner may kick, hit, punch, stab or push their victim. Being pushed is a major cause for concern that can seriously hurt the fetus. Abuse during pregnancy increases the chances of miscarriage, preterm delivery, placental abruption, fetal injury and stillbirth. Research shows that women who are abused are not as likely to receive quality prenatal care because their abusive partner may not allow them to go to their doctor's appointments.
After birth, abusive partners often abuse their child. In an abusive relationship, the abuser is about 50% more likely to abuse their child as well. It is your job as a mother to protect your child. If you suspect that your partner would ever harm your baby, you should leave the home and go somewhere that you and your child are safe.
Getting out of an abusive relationship can be a challenge. You're probably afraid to stay in fear of being attacked again and you are likely afraid to leave in fear of your partner finding you and hurting you for leaving. Call 911 if you find yourself in an emergency situation and need immediate assistance. If you live in the United States you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233. Your local social services can also lead you in the proper direction if you are in an abusive relationship.
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