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Published Online: 6 November 2006

Intimate Partner Violence around the Time of Pregnancy: Association with Breastfeeding Behavior

Publication: Journal of Women's Health
Volume 15, Issue Number 8

Abstract

Objective: To assess associations of experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) and breastfeeding behaviors among a large, population-based sample of U.S. women.
Methods: Data were collected from women giving birth to live infants in 26 U.S. states and participating in the 2000–2003 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) (n = 118,579). Logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the relations of experiences of IPV in the year prior to and during pregnancy to initiation and early cessation of breastfeeding.
Results: Approximately 1 in 17 (5.8%) women delivering liveborn infants reported IPV either during or in the year prior to pregnancy. In crude logistic regression analyses, women who reported IPV in the year prior to pregnancy but not during pregnancy (OR 1.45, CI 1.26- 1.66), IPV during pregnancy but not in the year prior to pregnancy (OR 1.35, CI 1.11-1.64), and women reporting experiencing IPV across both periods (OR 1.52, CI 1.34-1.72) were significantly less likely to breastfeed the infants born subsequent to this pregnancy. Similarly, women reporting IPV around the time of pregnancy who initiated breastfeeding were more likely to cease breastfeeding by 4 weeks postpartum (ORs 1.41-1.71). In analyses adjusted for demographics and current smoking, however, experiences of IPV did not relate to women's risk for either outcome.
Conclusions: Although other factors beyond experiences of IPV may better predict a woman's decision or ability to breastfeed, abused women are overrepresented among mothers who do not or prematurely cease to breastfeed and should be identified and referred to appropriate services.

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cover image Journal of Women's Health
Journal of Women's Health
Volume 15Issue Number 8October 2006
Pages: 934 - 940
PubMed: 17087617

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Published online: 6 November 2006
Published in print: October 2006

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Jay G. Silverman
Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Michele R. Decker
Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Elizabeth Reed
Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Anita Raj
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

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