Domestic Violence and Its Association with Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes in Zimbabwe: A Descriptive Correlational Study
This study aimed at determining the relationship between domestic violence during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes. A descriptive correlational study design was employed. The setting for this study was Marondera Provincial Hospital in Zimbabwe, targeting women of childbearing age 15 to 49 years. A total of 120 participants were drawn from post-natal, neonatal unit and female wards including both post-natal and post aborted mothers. Convenient sampling method was used to recruit participants and face to face interviews were done using structured interviews to collect data. Data was coded and computed using the SPSS 16.0 and was analysed through descriptive and inferential statistics. The study revealed that women are experiencing different forms of domestic violence but they are not reporting. The results revealed that 32.5% of women experienced psychological/emotional abuse, 24.2% economic abuse, 11.7% physical abuse and 7.5% sexual abuse. Of the 120 participants, 21.7% reported abuse in pregnancy. The major adverse pregnancy outcomes reported included preterm deliveries (9.2%), low birth weight (13.3%), birth asphyxia8.3%, still births (2.5%), neonatal deaths (0.8%) and abortion (3.3%). Late antenatal care booking 79 (65.8%) and unbooked 1 (0.8%) cases were reported as some of the major risk factors. The major abusers were the intimate partners (17.5%), followed by the ex-husbands (1.7%). Other people like the in-laws were also reported as abusers (2.5%). The study revealed that these cases were going away unreported as most of the cases were not reported for medical care and even to the police. The inferential statistics revealed that there is a positive relationship between domestic violence during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes at (r=.229* and p=<0.05). R- squared indicated that experience of domestic violence during pregnancy accounts for 5.3% of the variance in the occurrence of adverse pregnancy outcomes. The study revealed that there is great need to intensify education of both men and women on the effects of domestic violence in pregnancy and strength the policy framework for the implementation of the local, regional and international polices on rights of women in a bid to improve health outcomes for women and children.
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