What you need to know

Domestic Violence Helplines: Statewide 1-800-MD-HELPS (800-634-3577) | National 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

There are other issues facing pregnant and new moms that often co-occur with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. These include substance use and intimate partner violence. Remember, you are not alone and help is available. Abuse is never okay. And it often gets worse during pregnancy.

What is abuse?

Abuse can be:

  • Sexual
  • Physical: hitting, kicking, or pushing you
  • Emotional: yelling at you, scaring you, or calling you names


Living in an abusive relationship can harm you and your baby. Your baby could be physically injured, or you could miscarry or have preterm labor. Each year, about 324,000 pregnant women in this country are battered by their partners. That makes abuse more common for pregnant women than gestational diabetes or preeclampsia conditions for which pregnant women are routinely screened.

  • Women with unplanned pregnancies have a 2-4 times greater risk for violence than women whose pregnancies were planned.
  • Homicide is the leading cause of pregnancy-associated deaths in Maryland. A significant number of all female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partners.
  • Pregnant women who are abused by their partners have a higher risk for tobacco, alcohol, and substance use disorder, depression and suicide attempts, all of which have negative effects on the developing fetus.
  • Intimate Partner Violence is linked to a wide range of reproductive health issues including sexually transmitted disease and HIV transmission, miscarriages, and risky sexual health behavior. Other chronic health problems can worsen.
  • Complications of pregnancy, including low weight gain, anemia, infections and first and second trimester bleeding are significantly higher for abused women.

If you are being abused, know that you are not alone. Nearly one-third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a partner at some point in their lives.

What you can do?

If you are in a relationship where you are in danger of being harmed, get help. Call a hotline or ask your health care provider or another trusted person to help you make a plan. You might be feeling very scared at the thought of leaving, but you’ve got to do it for yourself and your baby.

Domestic Violence Helplines: Statewide 1-800-MD-HELPS (800-634-3577) | National 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Immediate Help

If you or a loved one needs assistance or is thinking of suicide, please get help immediately.

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