oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - Prevalence and experience of domestic violence among rural pregnant women in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : original research

Volume 24, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



Domestic violence is widely recognised as a global public health concern with both immediate and long-term health consequences. Domestic violence during pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, bleeding during pregnancy, preterm labour, preterm delivery and higher neonatal deaths. The objective of the study was to determine the prevalence of domestic violence in a rural population of pregnant women. A cross-sectional, community-based, descriptive study was conducted targeting the pregnant women in a rural district of South Africa. A pre-tested, standard, anonymous questionnaire was administered to 340 randomly selected pregnant women (94% response rate). The prevalence of domestic violence was 31%. Domestic violence was highest in the age group 21-25 years and intimate partners (boyfriends / husband) were the main perpetrators (79%). Psychological (49%) and physical violence (36%) were the most common types of violence. Women who were unemployed (OR=3.6), had low education (OR=7.6) and known HIV status (OR=2.9), were more likely to be the victim. Enquiry of violence during antenatal care and appropriate intervention should be made compulsory in all healthcare settings in South Africa.

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