Domestic abuse in pregnancy
If your partner is violent
One in four women experiences domestic abuse or domestic violence at some point in their lives. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial, and is often a combination of these types.
Pregnancy can be a trigger for domestic abuse, and existing abuse may get worse during pregnancy or after giving birth.
Domestic abuse during pregnancy puts you and your unborn child in danger. It increases the risk of miscarriage, infection, premature birth, and injury or death to the baby.
It can also cause women to experience emotional and mental health problems, such as stress and anxiety, which can affect the development of the baby.
Find out how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse.
If you're pregnant and being abused, there is help available. You can speak in confidence to a:
- health visitor
- social worker
Information about you won't be shared with other services without your permission, unless there's a concern that your unborn child or other children in your family, or someone else, is at risk of serious harm.
You can also get support from:
- the 24-hour freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline, run by Refuge – call 0808 2000 247 for free confidential advice
- Refuge – find out more about the services available for women and children
- Women's Aid – find your local service for help in your area
Find out more about getting help if you're experiencing domestic abuse.
You should call 999 if you're in immediate danger.
Video: why am I being asked about domestic abuse?
In this video, a midwife explains why you are being asked about domestic abuse when pregnant.
Media review due: 20 March 2023
Page last reviewed: 17 March 2018
Next review due: 17 March 2021