Domestic Abuse in Pregnancy

A few people have asked me, “Will you be doing a post about domestic abuse on Super Bowl Sunday?”

That’s because of the conventional wisdom that SuperBowl Sunday is one of the leading days for domestic abuse to occur. The idea goes that the losing team is out of control and the man takes it out on the family in retaliation – or the team wins and in one’s excitement, he again takes it out on the family.

Well obviously I’ve missed SuperBowl Sunday, at least as far as this blog is concerned. After getting all the questions about posting on that day, I thought I’d verify that the domestic abuse injuries do indeed go up on the day of the Big Game and as it turns out, there isn’t a big difference on that day. See Snopes discuss that here.

I guess the conclusion you can come to is that it’s not better on any other day – domestic violence occurs every day.

So instead of talking about that, I’m going to tell you about this. The next time you hear that tidbit about domestic violence and the SuperBowl, share this one back.

Did you know that homicide is a – and quite possibly THE – leading cause of death in pregnant and postpartum women – and most often this is caused by an intimate partner?

We hear about some of these cases on the news. Laci Peterson and others, so many others, regularly hit the headlines and the world is shocked. However the homicides are the tip of the iceberg on domestic violence during pregnancy – most violence doesn’t escalate to murder, but still has devastating consequences, among them premature labor, premature rupture of membranes, uterine rupture, hemorrhage and blunt trauma injuries to mother and baby as well as miscarriage and stillbirth. Assuming a woman and baby are not killed by the abuse, the abuse often continues – and escalates – and affects not only the rest of pregnancy, but labor, birth, postpartum and beyond for both mother and child. Read more about it here.

Whether it’s “the” leading cause or “a” leading cause might be up for debate, but I think an important point to consider is that maternal homicides, and perinatal domestic abuse, tend to be under-reported – so the problem is certainly greater than we currently understand.

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