Ahmad, J., Khan, M.E., Mozumdar, A., and Varma, D.S. Journal of Interpersonal Violence (May 2015), pii: 0886260515584341, e-publication ahead of print.
During a large household survey carried out in 2009–2010 in Uttar Pradesh, India, the authors interviewed 4,223 married women aged 15–49 years and 2,274 husbands of these women to explore the prevalence of different forms of gender-based violence (GBV) and its impact on women’s reproductive health behavior. Thirty-seven percent of participants had experienced any form of GBV during the last 12 months, including emotional violence (31 percent), physical violence (28 percent), and sexual violence (6 percent). The majority (47 percent) experienced violence during their last pregnancy; 34 percent of these women also reported pregnancy complications. Women who reported violence were less prepared for delivery and less likely to have an institutional delivery, seek postnatal care within seven days of delivery, and have spousal communication on family planning. Moreover, women from non-Hindu families, along with those without any formal education, from families with a low standard of living index, and working outside the home, reported experiencing more violence compared to their counterparts. The authors concluded that GBV alone can increase the chances of serious reproductive morbidity and mortality among women, sometimes leading to abortion and stillbirths. They recommended that health care workers be trained to identify high-risk women and advise them on how to protect themselves from GBV during pregnancy.