Intimate Partner Violence with Unintended Pregnancy

Violence perpetuated by intimate partners, especially in the context of unintended pregnancy has attracted various academic inquests over time, focusing on aspects such as prevalence, associations and outcomes. One such study was by Ismayilova, which assessed the link between intimate partner violence (IPV) and unintended pregnancy in the transitional nations of the former Soviet Union (1). The study evaluated whether women who have been victims of IPV, in Azerbjain, Moldova and Ukraine, were at a greater chance of having unintended pregnancy compared to those who did not have a history of IPV. Employing data from Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in the three countries in 2006, 2005 and 2007 respectively, the study found out that, IPV was significantly linked to unintended last pregnancy, evidenced by significant abortion in Azerbjain and Moldova, and unwanted live birth in Ukraine (Ismayilova 13).

In a different study, Pallito and O’Campo evaluated the link between IPV and unintended pregnancy in Colombia (166). Similar to the study by Ismayilova, the study used secondary data obtained from DHS, from which multivariate logistic regressions were conducted to evaluate the degree of the link between the two variables. The unintended pregnancy variable was modeled as a dichotomous entity, where respondents reported having or not having a pregnancy they had not planned for at the time of conception (Pallito and O’Campo 167). IPV was modeled to include both physical (e.g. pushing, hitting and biting) and sexual (forced sex) forms. Additionally, the study included explanatory variables for demographics, fertility characteristics, and abuse-related characteristics. Controlling for confounding factors, women who had experienced IPV were found to have a statistically significant likelihood of having unintended pregnancy compared to those who had not suffered IPV (p. 169). In the event of physical abuse or sexual abuse, the odds of having unintended pregnancy was estimated at 1.64, which was significant at 99.99 level of confidence (Pallito and O’Campo 168).

In another Colombian study, Gomez set out to assess how sexual violence predicted unintended pregnancy and use of modern contraceptive methods among young women (13-24 years) (1350). The decision to focus the study on such a population was informed on a contention that such young women may have lower skills to wade off their partners from engaging in non-consensual sex. Similar to the previously reviewed studies, Gomez also used secondary data derived from DHS, and measures similar to those employed by Pallito and O’Campo. After controlling for confounding factors, the study found out that respondents who had reported having experienced sexual violence were also more likely to have unintended pregnancy and less likely to use modern contraceptive methods, with the adjusted odds ratio for unintended pregnancy among this population, at a 95 percent confidence level, being 1.4 (Gomez 1352).

In a different study in Peru, Cripe et al. found similar positive associations, as the studies reviewed above, between unintended pregnancy and IPV. In this study, the authors assessed the link between lifetime IPV (physical and/or sexual) with unintended pregnancy among women in Peru (105). Unlike the other studies that used secondary data, this study collected primary data using a questionnaire that was informed on the questionnaires used in DHS. After excluding those with missing information and those who did not meet the inclusion criteria, a sample size of 2167 (90.5% of the original sample) was employed in the analysis. Results indicated that women who suffered IPV were 1.63 times more likely to have unintended pregnancies compared to those who had not suffered IPV (Cripe et al. 106). For women who suffered sexual violence, the odds ratio for having unintended pregnancy was 1.85 at a 95 per cent confidence interval (Cripe et al. 106). For lifetime physical violence, the odds for unintended pregnancy was 1.42 at 95 percent confidence interval (Cripe et al. 106). Such odds, greater than one, imply that those who experience IPV are at a significantly greater risk of getting unintended pregnancy compared to those who did not experience IPV.


The review presented indicates the existence of a strong link between IPV and unintended pregnancy. For instance, of all the reviewed literature, the odds of having unintended pregnancy following IPV were noted to be higher than one. This implied that IPV cohorts were at a significant risk of unintended pregnancy compared to the those who did not experience IPV. The strong link between IPV and unintended pregnancy thus suggests that IPV could be a risk factor for women to achieve desired family sizes, which may in turn affect other aspects such as their socioeconomic and health status. Such is for instance evident with the clear implication of IPV in reduced use of modern contraception methods in one of the studies reviewed. The effect on socioeconomic status arises where the pregnancies result into multiple children thus presenting a challenge for the women to take care of a large family. One of the health impacts of such would be subsequent abortions that may affect the women’s fertility and other health outcomes.

From this review, three questions are worthy of exploration:

  • What is the prevalence of IPV towards women in (country)?
  • Is there a significant association between IPV and unintended pregnancy in ( country)?
  • Is there a difference in the association between IPV and unintended pregnancy between different age groups?

Works Cited

Cripe, Swee May, et al. “Association of Intimate Partner Physical and Sexual Violence with Unintended Pregnancy among Pregnant Women in Peru.” International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics 100.2 (2008): 104-108. Web. 28 Sept. 2012.

Gomez, Anu Manchinkanti. “Sexual Violence as a Predictor of Unintended Pregnancy, Contraceptive Use, and Unmet Need among Female Youth in Colombia” Journal of Women’s Health 20. 9 (2011): 1349-1356. Social Science Index. Web. 28 Sept. 2012.

Ismayilova, Leyla. “Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy in Azerbaijan, Moldova and Ukraine.” DHS Working Papers, no. 79, 2010. Web. 28 Sept. 2012.

Pallitto, Christina C. and Patricia O’Campo. “The Relationship between Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy: Analysis of a National Sample from Colombia.” International Family Planning Perspectives 30.4 (2004): 165-173. Web. 28 Sept. 2012.

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