Pregnancy · Emotional Health

Intimate partner violence during pregnancy

Woman lying on her side in bed looking sad and depressed

What makes a healthy relationship?  Do words like respect, love, equality come to mind?  Well, this may not be the case for some people. Pregnancy can be a vulnerable time for intimate partner violence due to changes in physical, emotional, social and financial demands.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) refers to physical, sexual, or emotional harm from a current or former partner. IPV may happen before, during or after pregnancy. It can also get worse throughout pregnancy and after birth.

Getting out of a harmful relationship isn’t easy, but you deserve to live free of fear.

If you’ve experienced violence in a relationship, or know someone who has, then you know how hard it is to open up and share that this is happening.

IPV can happen to any family regardless of their racial background, socio-economic status or sexual relationship. It is not legal or acceptable in Canada and is an important public health and human rights issue that needs to be addressed.

IPV during pregnancy affects both the pregnant individual and the unborn baby which may lead to:

  • miscarriage
  • preterm/ low birth weight baby
  • other poor pregnancy outcomes

One in six women experience abuse during pregnancy.

You are not alone – there is help.

Remember to:

  • Contact the police (911), if immediate help is needed
  • Have a safety plan
  • Talk about the abuse with someone you trust
  • Inform your Health Care Provider about the abuse
  • Connect with community support programs
  • Know that intimate partner violence is not legal or acceptable in Canada

To learn more about healthy relationships and intimate partner violence during pregnancy, speak to your health care provider or with a Public Health Nurse through eChat or 416-338 7600.

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