Pregnancy-controlling behavior by men among women who have experienced intimate partner violence: an unexplored dimension of reproductive health in the United States

Ann M. Moore, Guttmacher Institute
Lori Frohwirth, Guttmacher Institute

Previous work has found a correlation between intimate partner violence (IPV) and negative reproductive health outcomes (lower rates of contraceptive use, higher rates of unintended pregnancy and abortions). The purpose of this study was to collect detailed narratives of women’s pregnancy experiences among women who have been in abusive relationships to elucidate the range of male partners’ reproductive control over their female partners, and the effects of that control on contraceptive use and pregnancy. 75 in-depth interviews were conducted with women recruited from a domestic violence shelter, a freestanding abortion clinic and family planning clinic in the United States who had experienced IPV. Most of the sample had experienced pregnancy controlling behavior defined as pregnancy-promotion, control during pregnancy to influence the outcome of the pregnancy and post-pregnancy resolution (miscarriage, birth or abortion) punishment. Reproductive health providers need to screen women on pregnancy-controlling behavior to better serve their reproductive health needs.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Reproductive health, HIV-AIDS, poverty and gender