MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Domestic violence during pregnancy doubles the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight, a new study says.
The study was published in the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, according to Science Daily.
As part of the study, researchers with the University of Iowa analyzed 50 studies on the effects of domestic violence by a partner or ex-partner – that included more than 5 million women from 17 countries, 15,000 of whom were victims of domestic violence.
The results found domestic violence doubled the risk of preterm births and low birth weight but that the risk was further increased when women experiences two or more types of domestic violence during pregnancy. This could include physical violence, sexual, financial, psychological and emotional.
Fewer studies also showed a small increased risk of giving birth to a baby who is small for his or her gestational age.
The study says domestic violence by a partner or ex-partner can directly affect the growing fetus through physical or sexual trauma or indirectly due to larger amounts of maternal stress, inadequate nutrition or poor prenatal car.