Intimate Partner Violence
Intimate partner violence (also referred to as domestic violence) is any violence by an intimate partner through physical, sexual, or emotional abuse and controlling behaviors. Abuse can begin or escalate during pregnancy, and cause harm to the mother and baby.
Risks During Pregnancy
Intimate partner violence is associated with multiple risks for the mother and the baby that include:
- Homicide (to the mother or baby)
- Substance abuse during pregnancy
- Delayed prenatal care
- Low birth weight
- Preterm labor
- Difficulties bonding with child
- Lower rates of breastfeeding
Questions to ask yourself to determine if you might be in abusive relationship:
- Has my partner caused harm or pain to my body?
- Does my partner threaten me or the baby?
- Is my partner becoming more violent?
- Does my partner blame me for how he acts?
- For more information on what to look for visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Warning Signs of Abuse.
- Identifying abuse is the first step in getting help for you and your baby. Having a safety plan can help lower your risk of getting hurt by your partner. Make sure to share this information with someone you trust if possible. Every plan looks different and should tailor your needs and environment. Below are things to consider when making your safety plan:
- List of names and numbers to call in case of an emergency. It is probably safer to memorize these numbers if anything were to happen to your phone.
- Store extra cash and documents or items in a safe place to gather and take quickly.
- Become familiar with domestic violence centers near you. These centers provide information and assistance to help with domestic violence.
- Document incidences whenever possible.
- For more information or assistance in creating a safety plan visit:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides services to plan for safety. This includes an Interactive Safety Plan, Internet Safety, Supporting Your Children and Pet Safety.
- Create a Safety Profile with Smart911. By creating a profile 911 dispatchers are given background information about your situation. This can possibly help you in a situation where you are unable to be vocal about your situation in an emergency. It is FREE!
- If you need assistance, hotlines are available for resources. If you need medical attention or in immediate danger call 911.
- Illinois Violence Hotline provides safety assistance to domestic violence victims throughout Illinois and is available 24/7. Services include locating programs located throughout Illinois, safety planning, legal advocacy, temporary food and housing and more. Visit, Domesitic Violence Agencies by City to find a center near you.
- Text: 877-863-6339
- National Domestic Violence Hotline provides a free and confidential assitance available 24/7. Their website also provides information on identifying abuse, other services include planning for safety, local resources and supporting others.
- Phone: 1 (800) 799- 7233
- Text: 1 (800) 787- 3224
Abuse and Pregnancy
Abuse can come in any shape or form and is often a way your partner extends their power and control over you. The most common is emotional, psychological and physical, sexual abuse from a partner or spouse. There are also other forms of abuse that are not as widely talked about that can include financial abuse, digital abuse, or reproductive coercion.
Different Forms of Abuse
Emotional and Verbal Abuse includes:
- Blaming you for their abusive behaviors
- Isolating you from your family, friends and close people in your life
- Name calling, and insulting you
- Making you feel guilty
Psychological Abuse includes:
- Controlling your actions and what you wear
- Stalking with or without your knowledge
- Forced isolation from family and friends
- Insisting on attending check-ups to conceal abuse
Physical Abuse includes:
- Shaking, pushing, kicking, choking or physical restraint
- Destroying your belongings
- Harming your children or pets
- Use weapons against you
- Prevent you from taking prenatal vitamins or going to your visits
Sexual Abuse includes:
- Unwanted touching
- Forced sex without contraception
- Any unwanted forced or sexual activity
Financial Abuse includes:
- Restricting access to your accounts or money that you earned
- Stealing money from you, family or friends
- Living in your home but refusing to contribute
Digital Abuse includes:
- Using social media to track your activities
- Constantly looking through you to check up on you with and without you knowing
Triggers of abuse during pregnancy
- It’s important to note that the victim is not to blame for any abuse or violence. During pregnancy there have been identified triggers that can start or continue the abuse and/or violence. Triggers can include:
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Stress due to financial burdens to support the baby or mother
- Jealousy that from attention shift from the partner to the baby