Physical abuse during pregnancy linked to premature birth: study

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Washington, Feb 24 (UNI) Women who face physical abuse during pregnancy are more likely to have premature delivery, a new study shows.

Researchers from the University of Porto Medical School, Portugal, found that there was a strong link between physical abuse during pregnancy and preterm birth, the Science Daily reported.

For the study, researchers conducted a survey by assessing the experience of 2660 mothers who had preterm delivery. This survey captured demographic, behavioral and obstetric data, including the type and frequency of physical abuse.

It was found that 24 per cent of mothers of preterm newborn infants had experienced physical abuse during pregnancy compared with 8 per cent of mothers of term newborn infants.

Violence was associated with preterm birth even after controlling for age, marital status, education, income, parity, planned pregnancy, antenatal care, smoking, alcohol, and illicit drugs use.

''The main strengths of this study are its large sample size, the high participation rate; the inclusion of women from virtually all social and economic strata and a broad range of pregnancy and delivery risk profiles. Assessment of violence exposure took place with guaranteed privacy, through face-to-face interviews that used highly trained personnel,'' said the researcher Teresa Rodrigues.

She emphasises that women are not generally evaluated during pregnancy for physical abuse and that this study suggests that physicians should recognise such abuse as a risk factor for preterm delivery and address this issue with patients.


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