How it can hurt
Domestic violence during pregnancy is linked with depression, suicide, substance abuse, infection, anemia, first and second trimester bleeding and low birth weight, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Murder is second only to car accidents as the most common cause of death for pregnant women.
"Domestic violence is pervasive in our society, but because it's under-reported, we may never know its true prevalence," says Sheryl Cates, executive director of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Texas Council on Family Violence. "We find that a man who is violent toward his [pregnant] intimate partner feels he's lost control or possession over her or her body," Cates adds. "He feels he is not getting the attention he deserves, and he's lost his place to the baby."
Why tell your doctor
If you have been hurt by your partner, a doctor can treat your injuries, document the abuse and refer you to local shelters and other services for victims of domestic violence.
For more help
The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-799-7233.