Domestic Violence

Between 14 and 17 percent of pregnant women experience domestic violence during the course of their pregnancy.13 It is a particularly vulnerable time during which "intimate violence" may escalate. Late entry into prenatal care, unintended pregnancy, drug and alcohol use, depression, and housing problems have all been associate with an increased risk of domestic violence. Pregnant women who are the victims of domestic violence are at an increased risk for placental abruption, fetal fractures, uterine rupture, and preterm labor. It is imperative to keep a high index of suspicion and be prepared to initiate appropriate referrals to social service and law enforcement agencies. In addition, for Rh-negative women who have experienced blunt abdominal trauma, consideration should be given to the administration of Rhogam to prevent isoimmunization. (see Chap 101 for a detailed discussion.)

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