women with disabilities; domestic violence; pregnancy


Clinical and Medical Social Work | Community Health | Mental and Social Health | Public Health



Each year, violence is perpetrated against 1.5 million US women, of whom 324,000 are pregnant. Violence in pregnancy has adverse effects on maternal and infant health. Although there are 4.7 million childbearing age women with disabilities, and their pregnancy rates are growing, there is very little information about violence against pregnant women with disabilities.


The study questions are: Are there differences in pre- and in-pregnancy violence experiences of women with and without disabilities? Is disability a significant predictor of pre- and in-pregnancy violence against women?


The study uses data from the 2009 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The study conducts χ 2 -tests and multivariate analyses of violence experiences.


Pregnant women with disabilities experience more violence than those without. Disability is a significant violence predictor. The number and types of stress sources significantly affect the likelihood of violence. Poor health behaviors also contribute to the likelihood of violence.


There is a need to reduce violence against pregnant women particularly those with disabilities. Effective interventions require information about causality which can be established through analysis of primary data. Future studies should collect and analyze household level data. Care providers can contribute information by monitoring, recording, and reporting stress types, levels, and violence especially among pregnant women with disabilities.