Abuse in Pregnancy
Updated November 2nd, 2023
Abuse can happen any time, but it often starts or gets worse during pregnancy. Abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, verbal, social, financial and digital. Abuse is when the abuser asserts power and control over the other partner. Violence is found in same-sex, transgender and heterosexual partnerships.
If this sounds like something that is happening to you or someone you know, it’s important to get help now before the abuse gets worse. There are many resources in to help.
- If you feel like you are in danger, call 911.
- For support services call the Domestic Abuse Crisis Line (24 Hour) at 1-877-977-0007 or visit their website stop the violence.
Types of abuse:
Physical abuse is when someone:
- hits you
- holds or restrains you
- uses a weapon or other objects to threaten or hurt you
- takes away your assistive devices for a disability such as your guide dog or a cane
- denies you access to a health care provider such as a doctor, nurse practitioner, midwife, or dentist
Psychological or emotional abuse is when someone:
- makes it hard for you to see your friends and/or family
- blames you for the abuse
- questions everything you do
- controls how you spend your time
- threatens to hurt a person or animal you care for
- scares and threatens you
Verbal abuse is when someone:
- calls you names or puts you down
- makes fun of you in the presence of others
- will not talk to you (giving the silent treatment)
- yells and calls you names
Sexual abuse is when someone:
- forces you to continue the pregnancy or have an abortion
- demands sex or gets angry if you don’t want sex
- infects you with a sexually transmitted infection
Note: even if you are married or engaged, a partner cannot force you to have sex
Spiritual abuse is when someone:
- belittles you about your spiritual beliefs
- does not allow you to attend your place of worship
- forces you to participate in religious activities or organizations
Financial abuse is when someone:
- limits your access to your family finances
- spends all the family money
Digital abuse is when someone:
- stalks you on the internet
- constantly texts you to know what you are doing
- tracks your phone and your phone calls
- emails or texts you inappropriate pictures
- verbally or emotionally abuses you online (through social media)
If you are being abused you may:
- feel sad and alone
- feel scared
- suffer pain and injuries
- lose your baby (miscarry)
- blame yourself
- feel bad about yourself
- turn to drugs, alcohol or food to cope
- develop depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder
- suffer from sleep disorders, eating disorders, panic disorders, substance dependence, antisocial personality disorders, psychosis.
If you are being abused, your baby:
- may be born prematurely;
- may be underweight;
- may have health problems.
After birth, your baby may experience violence or see violent acts. Abuse can harm your baby’s emotional well-being and health. Once abuse starts it usually gets worse. You may feel like you have to “walk on eggshells” in order to keep the peace and stay safe.