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Domestic Violence Can Double Risk of Preterm Birth

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A study out of the University of Iowa revealed what most of us could have already guessed—domestic violence during pregnancy puts both mom and baby at increased risk for serious health problems. Published this past March in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the results show intimate partner violence during pregnancy is “significantly associated with” preterm birth (before 38 weeks) and low birth weight, finding that women who endured abuse while pregnant were almost twice as likely to deliver their babies preterm.

Trauma to a woman’s abdomen, as well as sexual abuse, may increase the risk of spontaneous abortion, preterm delivery, low birth weight or neonatal death, say researchers, but the risks aren’t limited just to those abused physically. Adverse birth outcomes are also linked to increased stress, inadequate nutrition and prenatal care, and negative maternal behavior. This could include smoking, drinking or not sleeping, says family practice doctor and American Academy of Family Physicians Board Chair, Wanda Filer, MD.

“Different people cope differently with stress,” says Filer. Being stressed, drinking, smoking and not staying active can cause high blood pressure, which can have negative implications on the health of the placenta, she says. After 20 weeks, high blood pressure could lead to a condition called preeclampsia, which can cause serious damage to the mother-to-be’s organs, such as the brain and kidneys. While this condition is rare, roughly affecting only about 5 percent of pregnant women, it can lead to more serious complications such as seizures. This is classified as eclampsia, a condition which can be fatal.


1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

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