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Intimate Partner Abuse In Pregnancy


Intimate partner violence, also known as domestic violence, may happen during pregnancy. The abuser uses fear to control or overpower the relationship by using intimidation, threats, or physical force. There may be a pattern of an ongoing or on and off abuse. The abuser may beg for forgiveness, promise to change, or try to make up for the wrongdoing. The abuser may also act as if the violence never happened. Intimate partner abuse is not normal or acceptable.


Follow up with your healthcare provider or obstetrician as directed:

You will need follow-up visits to check on your health and the health of your unborn baby. You may need more support and help over time. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Injury or wound care:

Ask your healthcare provider for information about how to take care of injuries or wounds.

Ice and heat:

  • Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your injury for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
  • After the first 24 to 48 hours, your healthcare provider may have you use heat. Heat helps decrease pain and muscle spasms. Apply heat on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed.


  • Rest: Rest when you feel it is needed. Tell your healthcare provider if you have trouble sleeping.
  • Exercise: Ask your healthcare provider or obstetrician about the best exercise plan for you. This may help decrease feelings of depression and anxiety. Exercise at least 2 to 3 times each week.
  • Get counseling: Intimate partner violence may cause you to feel scared, depressed, or anxious. Your healthcare provider may suggest that you see a counselor to talk about how you are feeling.
  • Go to follow-up visits: Your healthcare provider may talk to you, your family, friends, or the person responsible for intimate partner violence. This may include what may happen if the abuse does not stop. You may need to leave your current living situation to protect yourself, your fetus, and your other children.
  • Report physical or emotional abuse: It may be hard to report physical or emotional abuse, but it is very important. Healthcare providers can help you if you are at risk for or are a victim of intimate partner violence.

Contact your healthcare provider or obstetrician if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain when you urinate, or vaginal bleeding.
  • You have abdominal pain.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You fear for your life, or the lives of your fetus or other children.
  • You feel like hurting yourself, your fetus, or someone else.
  • You or your fetus have been badly hurt, such as if you are hit in the head or stomach.
  • You have sudden trouble breathing, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.