Intimate Partner Violence Among Pregnant Saudi Women: Prevalence, Risk Factors, and Attitudes
Keywords:Intimate partner violence, Saudi Arabia, pregnancy, abuse, Abuse Assessment Score, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse
Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy has become a focus of attention in recent years, owing to its relatively high prevalence, its impact on maternal and fetal health, and its cumulative effects over time.
Objective: This study aims to determine the magnitude and characteristics of IPV among pregnant Saudi Arabian women, to identify the factors that increase the risk, and to assess the willingness of abused women to report IPV.
Method: This is a cross-sectional, community-based survey of pregnant women in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. A modified Abuse Assessment Score (AAS) questionnaire was used. Sociodemographic data were collected. Data related to willingness to report IPV, including reasons for declining to report IPV, were also collected.
Results: A total of 1,330 women completed the three parts of the survey. In total, 345 (25.9%) women reported emotional abuse during pregnancy, whereas 72 (5.4%) reported physical abuse and 180 (13.5%) reported sexual abuse. In emotional abuse, a significant association was found between having more children (p = .001), having a lower education (p = .05), having a lower income (p = .04), and being abused. In physical abuse during pregnancy, no significant associations were found between all variables and being abused. However, in reporting sexual abuse among women during pregnancy, a significant increase in the risk was found in those with four or more children (p = .01) and those who are employed (p = .01). More than two-thirds (71.2%) of abused pregnant women were unwilling to report the abusive acts to a medical authority.
Conclusion: IPV is common among pregnant Saudi women. Emotional abuse is the commonest form of IPV, affecting one in four women. More than two-thirds of abused women were unwilling to report their partner’s abusive acts. Screening for IPV may encourage women to seek help and improve both maternal and fetal health.
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