The unique needs of pregnant, violence-exposed women: A systematic review of current interventions and directions for translational research


Intimate partner violence (IPV) is, unfortunately, a common lifetime experience for women, with heightened risk of exposure during pregnancy. IPV exposure in pregnancy is associated with serious physical and mental health problems in the perinatal period, as well as detrimental effects on the health and well-being of the developing infant. The objectives of the current review are to: (1) present representative literature on the effects of IPV in pregnancy, (2) conduct a systematic review of existing interventions for IPV-exposed pregnant women and (3) provide recommendations for future translational research in this area. The review indicated that despite the broad range of negative effects associated with IPV exposure during pregnancy, interventions are scarce and largely limited to crisis intervention approaches. Available interventions seeking to address broader or intergenerational effects of violence are limited in scope, and effectiveness data are preliminary in nature. As such, there is a great need for theory-based interventions that address women's complex needs, including specific developmental necessities of both the pregnant woman and her child (e.g., breastfeeding, early parenting, infant care). Incorporating these elements within a strengths-based paradigm may also decrease stigma related to IPV and facilitate empowerment and self-efficacy for this at-risk group.

Publication Title

Aggression and Violent Behavior