Perceived Fertility Control and Pregnancy Outcomes among Abused Women
McFarlane, Judith M.
Maddoux, John A.
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Objective: To describe the degree of perceived fertility control and associated likelihood of unintended pregnancy and poor pregnancy outcomes among women who report intimate partner violence. Design: Cross-sectional cohort study design. Setting: Five domestic violence shelters and one district attorney’s office in a large urban metropolis in the United States. Participants: A total of 282 women who reported intimate partner violence and reached out for the first time to a shelter or district attorney’s office for assistance. Methods: This 7-year prospective longitudinal study began in 2011. Participants in the overarching study are being interviewed every 4 months. During the 32-month interview period, participants responded to a one-time, investigatordeveloped, fertility control questionnaire in addition to the ongoing repeated measures. Results: Almost one third (29%) of the participants reported at least one unintended pregnancy attributed to their abusers’ refusal to use birth control, and 14.3% of the participants reported at least one unintended pregnancy as a result of their abusers’ refusal to allow them to use birth control. Participants were 28 times more likely to have abuseinduced miscarriages if their pregnancies resulted because their abusers did not use birth control (OR ¼ 28.70, p < .05). Finally, participants were 8 times more likely to report premature births if they were abused because of their use of birth control (OR ¼ 8.340, p < .05). Conclusion: Women in abusive relationships reported compromised fertility control associated with abuse and increased risk for unintended pregnancy as well as the adverse pregnancy outcomes of premature birth and miscarriage. This article was published with the assistance of the Texas Woman's University Libraries Open Access Fund. The original article can be found at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jogn.2016.01.004