Domestic Violence Against Pregnant Women: A Thai Perspective
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Little is known about domestic violence experienced by Thai pregnant women. This exploratory descriptive study aimed to investigate the prevalence of domestic violence during pregnancy and immediate postpartum period among Thai women aged between 18 and 45 years. The study also aimed to investigate maternal and neonatal outcomes for childbearing women, the ways in which they dealt with domestic violence, barriers that inhibited them from seeking help or resisting violence, as well as the needs and support that would be helpful in dealing with domestic violence. A cohort of 421 women in their third trimester of pregnancy was recruited from two tertiary public hospital antenatal clinics located in Khon Kaen Province, Northeastern Thailand. Structured questionnaires were used. Participants were again contacted at six weeks postpartum either in person at the family planning clinics or by telephone. Two hundred and seventy-four women were able to be contacted. The results showed that 53.7% of women reported psychological abuse, 26.6% experienced threats of and/or acts of physical abuse, and 19.2% experienced sexual violence during the current pregnancy. In the postpartum period, 35.4% of women reported psychological abuse, 9.5% reported threats of and/or acts of physical abuse, and 11.3% experienced sexual abuse. Women who were abused during pregnancy showed significantly poorer health status compared to non-abused women in role emotional functioning, vitality, bodily pain, mental health and social functioning. Women who experienced postpartum abuse reported significantly lower mean scores in mental health and social functioning than women who did not. Antepartum haemorrhage was also found to be statistically associated with physical abuse. No statistical differences were found between abuse status and neonatal outcomes. There were several strategies used by abused women in dealing with domestic violence to maximize their safety including crying, keeping quiet, leaving violent situations and temporarily staying with relatives, seeking help from others, and notifying local authorities. Support services that would be helpful for abused women in dealing with the problem included emotional support, social legal assistance, and community health promotion. Domestic violence during pregnancy and after birth is an increasing but under-recognized problem in Thailand. It has pervasive consequences on maternal health. The findings from this study suggest more interventions and urgent domestic violence support services need to be established in this remote area of Thailand. This study also suggests routine screening for domestic violence should be established to provide effective early intervention and prevention of adverse consequences of violence, as pregnancy is a time when most pregnant women seek health care.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Item Access Status
abused pregnant women