When a pregnant woman is abused, she is not the only one who suffers. The fetus developing inside her suffers as well, sometimes to the point of suffering permanent disabilities after birth. All types of domestic violence – physical, emotional, sexual, and even financial – can have a lasting impact on a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
Generally, domestic violence during pregnancy is not a new occurrence. Women who already face abuse in their relationships often see the abuse continue or increase when they become pregnant. In some cases, the pregnancy itself can be part of the abuse, either by occurring after a partner tampered with the woman’s birth control in an effort to impregnate her without her consent to keep her from leaving the relationship or as a point of conflict between the partners when an abusive spouse attempts to force or coerce the woman into aborting a pregnancy she does not want to terminate.
How Abuse Affects an Unborn Child
Domestic violence during pregnancy increases a woman’s risk of going into labor prematurely and suffering a miscarriage. It can also cause a baby to be stillborn.
Other ways domestic violence can directly impact a developing fetus include:
Breaking its bones;
Damaging the fetus’ organs;
Causing a placental rupture;
Increasing the risk of a low birth weight; and
When drug and alcohol use are part of the woman’s experience, whether they are forced upon her or she uses them to self-medicate, the fetus has an increased risk of fetal alcohol syndrome and other adverse health conditions.
Domestic Violence and its Effects on a Pregnant Woman
A pregnant woman who faces domestic violence lives in fear, which causes stress hormones to course through her body and impact her developing child. Domestic violence victims might use drugs in an effort to relieve their fear and pain or fail to seek medical attention when necessary, which can increase their chances of delivering babies with birth defects.
Having a child with an abusive partner can also make it more difficult for the woman to leave her relationship, which can keep her in a violent household for years, even decades.
Our Team at Draper Law Office can Help you End your Marriage to Protect yourself and your Child
If you are facing domestic violence from your spouse, you need to leave the marriage safely to protect yourself from further harm. If you are pregnant or have children, you need to leave not just for your sake, but for theirs. Once you are safely out of the home, contact Draper Law Office online or by calling (866) 747-4711 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our three convenient office locations.