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Health Before

Pregnancy

Last Reviewed: April 2017

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Emotional Preparation

Abuse & Pregnancy

Key Info

  • About 40% of woman abuse starts during a woman’s first pregnancy.
  • Feeling safe in a relationship is every person’s right.
  • Battering can cause miscarriages, premature labour and stillbirths.
  • Fearing your partner is the key sign of being in an abusive relationship.

Now is the time to be sure about your relationship: before you welcome a new life. About 40% of woman abuse starts during a woman’s first pregnancy.

Emotional abuse often starts first. A woman may be insulted, threatened, criticized in public, blamed and told what to do. Emotional abuse can turn into physical abuse such as slapping, hitting or shoving. It only gets worse over time.

Remember: your right to freedom from abuse is more valuable than a relationship that destroys you.

Don’t ever be afraid to reach out for help. Don’t feel guilty, ashamed or blame yourself for a failing relationship. Now is the time to make important decisions for yourself and for the health of the baby you are dreaming about.

Abuse Hurts Unborn Children

Some women survive abuse by shutting out their reality. Thoughts like,“My baby needs a father,” may keep a woman in a harmful relationship for years.

But staying in an abusive relationship can hurt the unborn child the most. Battering can cause miscarriages, premature labour and stillbirths. Women might also turn to drugs or alcohol to cope, putting a developing baby in even more danger.

Signs of Abuse

When you think about pregnancy you picture love, security and bonds that pull relationships closer. It is every person’s right to live in a safe relationship that nurtures, lends support and is free of harm.

Sadly, it’s not uncommon to discover a relationship is destructive and abusive.
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The key sign is being afraid of your partner. Other signs include:

  1. Depression
  2. Confusion
  3. Sleep disturbances or nightmares
  4. Unusual physical complaints
  5. Eating disorders
  6. Anxiety or tension
  7. Hopelessness or mood swings
  8. Upsetting flashbacks

How Do You Know If You’re in an Abusive Relationship?

Strong differences in beliefs could be warning signals that your relationship could become abusive. Both you and your partner should ask yourselves:

  1. Is it OK for me to behave in a certain way, but not my partner?
  2. Have I ever forced my partner to do something to get what I want?
  3. Do I blame my partner for everything that goes wrong?
  4. Does my jealousy stop my partner from going places or seeing other people?
  5. Do I have set ideas about what my partner and I should be like or should do? 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you should examine your relationship more closely. Overcoming differences now will be easier than letting them take their toll when you become pregnant.

Having a baby doesn’t make a bad relationship better: it only adds to the stress.

If you’re being abused:

  1. Talk to someone you trust about the abuse
  2. Call the crisis line listed in your phone book
  3. Call the Assaulted Women’s Help Line at 1-866-863-0511 or 1-866-863-7868

 

If you are in danger, call 911

For more information:
Region of Peel — Public Health
905-799-7700 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216

To speak with a Public Health Nurse

Women Abuse Prevention
Region of Peel — Public Health

Assaulted Women’s Helpline


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Revised: Friday June 23 2017

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