When Domestic Violence Threatens The Unborn
You love your husband. He loves you. Even though there are occasional physical encounters due to his unpredictable temper—you know he loves you. Yes, you’ve had a few bruises, maybe even a broken bone or two. But you know he loves you. Your pregnancy was a blessing. You thought it would bring you closer. But no, the abuse has continued, and you’re afraid, not only for yourself, but for your unborn child. And rightly so.
Impacts of Abuse on Pregnancy.
According to experts, physical abuse can have disastrous—even deadly—consequences for the unborn. Among the potential risks to the fetus:
- Premature birth;
- Low birthweight;
- Soft tissue damage to the fetus;
- Placental abruption;
In the worst-case situation, your abuser could wind up killing both you and your baby.
Why the Baby is in so much Danger
While women in abusive situations most often suffer blows to the head and neck (four in ten abuse victims) or have to deal with musculoskeletal injuries (about one in three victims), pregnant women find that abusers often target the abdomen. That makes them roughly 40 percent more likely to have complications related to their pregnancies and deliveries. Beyond that, they suffer more infections of the renal tract, deliver by cesarean section more often, and suffer higher levels of depression than women who are not in abusive situations.
What About After the Baby is Born?
Unfortunately, pregnancy does not deter domestic violence. Nor, it seems, does having a child. The consequences of the abusive situation impact the child after it is born—as mothers are less likely to breastfeed, and children grow up with fear and trauma watching their mothers suffer humiliation and pain. These children tend to have more issues with behavioral problems, and sadly, often become victims of abuse themselves.
Options for Victims
Nearly 10 percent—pregnant women—over 300,000 annually– suffer from domestic violence according to recent studies. That is a lot of women and unborn children. It is extremely important that women in this situation acknowledge their circumstances and reach out for help:
- Keep a trusted family, friend, or colleague in the loop and ready to assist you in an emergency;
- Memorize your OBGYN’s number in case you need medical attention quickly:
- Be aware of local women’s shelters in your area;
- Memorize the number of local hotlines;
- Work with an attorney to keep your abuser from having access to you.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, especially if you are pregnant, getting help immediately is in the best interests of you and your baby. At The Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes, our Baltimore family lawyers understand the emotional complications, as well as the dangers you face. Let us help. Schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.