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Is domestic violence a risk factor for pre-term labour?

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dc.contributor.advisor Odendaal HJ, Prof en
dc.contributor.advisor Du Plessis SS, Mr en
dc.contributor.author Schoeman J en
dc.date.accessioned 2016-09-22T08:33:30Z
dc.date.available 2016-09-22T08:33:30Z
dc.date.created 2001 en
dc.date.submitted 2004 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/29719
dc.description.abstract Worldwide, up to 25 percent of women are assaulted during pregnancy, with estimates varying between populations. Violence has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcome, including preterm birth, abruptio placentae and low birth weight. Among the Coloured population of the Western Cape the incidence of spontaneous preterm birth is 20 percent, compared to the global figure of 10 percent. Overall, the rate of preterm labour has not dropped over the past 40 years and no clearer answer as to a specific cause has been found. The objective of this study was to determine whether patients who deliver preterm experience more domestic violence than those who deliver at term. Two groups of patients were assessed. Firstly, patients who spontaneously delivered between 24 and 33 weeks (24w0d - 33w6d), who were admitted for suppression of active labour after 24 weeks, or who experienced placental abruption before 34 weeks, were screened for domestic violence using the Abuse Assessment Screen. A second group of women, attending a local Midwife Obstetric Unit with uncomplicated pregnancies, completed the same questionnaire. The questionnaires were all administered by the same person (J.S.) after written informed consent was given. A total of 229 patients were interviewed, 99 in the low risk (LR) and 130 in the preterm labour (PTL) group, which included 23 women with abruptio placentae. The PTL group experienced significantly more violence throughout their lives than the LR group (59.7 percent vs. 40.4 percent, p equal 0.038). Experiences of violence within the last year or during the pregnancy did not reach statistical significance between the two groups, although the numbers were higher for the PTL group. The PTL group smoked significantly more cigarettes per day (p equal 0.009), used more alcohol (p less than 0.001) and had a higher incidence of syphilis than the LR group (p equal 0.005). These differences remained the same when the abruptio's were analyzed as a separate group. Women who delivered preterm did experience more violence at some point in their lives and were also more likely to engage in high-risk behaviour. Violence alone does not seem to cause PTL directly, but is part of a low socioeconomic lifestyle. The fact that the alcohol use is so high among these women is a problem that needs to be addressed, but once again, it is possibly the result of deeper social problems. The need for education on values and respect, family planning use and low risk sexual behaviour is once again challenged. en
dc.language English en
dc.subject Medical sciences en
dc.subject Obstetrics en
dc.title Is domestic violence a risk factor for pre-term labour? en
dc.type Masters degree en
dc.description.degree MSc en


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