Intimate partner violence around the time of pregnancy and postpartum depression: The experience of women of Bangladesh

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Islam, Md Jahirul
Broidy, Lisa
Baird, Kathleen
Mazerolle, Paul
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Background and objectives:

Intimate partner violence (IPV) around the time of pregnancy is a serious public health concern and is known to have an adverse effect on perinatal mental health. In order to craft appropriate and effective interventions, it is important to understand how the association between IPV and postpartum depression (PPD) may differ as a function of the type and timing of IPV victimization. Here we evaluate the influence of physical, sexual and psychological IPV before, during and after pregnancy on PPD.


Cross-sectional survey data was collected between October 2015 and January 2016 in the Chandpur District of Bangladesh from 426 new mothers, aged 15–49 years, who were in the first six months postpartum. Multivariate logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between IPV and PPD, adjusted for socio-demographic, reproductive and psychosocial confounding factors.


Approximately 35.2% of women experienced PPD within the first six months following childbirth. Controlling for confounders, the odds of PPD was significantly greater among women who reported exposure to physical (AOR: 1.79, 95% CI [1.25, 3.43]), sexual (AOR: 2.25, 95% CI [1.14, 4.45]) or psychological (AOR: 6.92, 95% CI [1.71, 28.04]) IPV during pregnancy as opposed to those who did not. However, both before and after pregnancy, only physical IPV evidences a direct effect on PPD. Results highlight the mental health consequences of IPV for women of Bangladesh, as well as the influence of timing and type of IPV on PPD outcomes.

Conclusions and implications:

The findings confirm that exposure to IPV significantly increases the odds of PPD. The association is particularly strong for physical IPV during all periods and psychological IPV during pregnancy. Results reinforce the need to conduct routine screening during pregnancy to identify women with a history of IPV who may at risk for PPD and to offer them necessary support.

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PLoS One

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© 2017 Islam et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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