Intimate partner violence can lead to pregnancy termination

January 16, 2014

Women exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) are likely to terminate a pregnancy, according to a recent study in PLoS Medicine. Intimate partner violence was also associated with a woman not wanting her partner to know about the pregnancy’s termination.

 

Women exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV) are likely to terminate a pregnancy, according to a recent study in PLoS Medicine. Intimate partner violence was also associated with a woman not wanting her partner to know about the pregnancy’s termination.

Researchers from Kings College London did a systematic review of Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, and Ovid Maternity and Infant Care from the beginning of each database’s inception to September 21, 2013, finding 74 studies of women who had suffered IPV and undergone a termination of pregnancy (TOP). Sample sizes ranged from 8 to 33,385 participants.

Rates of IPV in the preceding year in women undergoing TOP ranged from 2.5% to 30%, with lifetime prevalence shown to be 24.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 19.9% to 30.6%). The partners’ lack of knowledge about TOP was shown to be significantly associated with IPV (pooled odds ration 2.97, 95% CI 2.39 to 3.69). Women in violent relationships were even more likely to conceal TOP from their partner than those in non-violent relationships. Investigators found that women welcomed the chance to disclose IPV and appeared amenable to help. Few long-term outcomes were studied. Limitations included study heterogeneity, potential underreporting of IPV and TOP in the original studies, and difficulties in validating IPV.

The study’s authors concluded that IPV and TOP are associated. Given the fact that women were open to discussing IPV at the same time as TOP, the researchers said that discussing IPV with women at termination appointments could be highly beneficial.


 

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