Intimate partner violence during pregnancy and preterm birth among mothers who gave birth in public hospitals, Amhara Region, Ethiopia: A case-control study


  • Abay Woday Tadesse
  • Negussie Deyessa
  • Abigiya Wondimagegnehu
  • Gebeyaw Biset
  • Setegn Mihret


Background: Preterm birth (PTB) is an important and under-reported public health problem in developing nations such as Ethiopia. Limited research has been conducted to date to address the effect of intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy on PTB. This study was conducted to assess the association between IPV during pregnancy and PTB.

Methods: A case control study was conducted on 138 cases and 276 controls in four randomly selected public hospitals from February to April 2018. Mothers who gave birth before 37 completed weeks of gestation were included as cases, and mothers who gave birth at 37 and above completed weeks of gestation were deemed as controls. A simple random sampling technique was employed to select the two consecutive controls. Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were done.

Results: In this study, the prevalence of any IPV during pregnancy was 44.8% among cases and 25% among controls. Any IPV during pregnancy was significantly associated with PTB [AOR = 2.85; 95% CI: 1.42-6.22]. In addition, women who were exposed to emotional violence during the recent pregnancy were three times more likely to have a PTB compared to those who were not violated [AOR = 3.05; 95% CI: 1.35-6.91]. Similarly, women who experienced physical IPV during pregnancy were 2.6 times [AOR = 2.56; 95% CI: 1.27-6.78] more at risk of PTB compared to those who had no physical IPV.

Conclusion: This study found that IPV during pregnancy is significantly associated with PTB. Hence, IPV screening needs to be integrated into routine antenatal care (ANC) services. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2020; 34(1):44-53]

Key words: Intimate partner violence, pregnancy, preterm birth, Ethiopia