Researchers honored for study connecting domestic violence, low birth weight babies

Researchers honored for study connecting domestic violence, low birth weight babies

A UI College of Public Health study that found intimate partner violence can double the risk of some types of birth complications for pregnant women has been honored by the Royal Academy of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The study, “Intimate partner violence during pregnancy and the risk for adverse infant outcomes,” received the David Liu Prize from the academy. It was co-authored by Audrey Saftlas, professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health; Brittney Donovan, doctoral student in epidemiology; Kelli Ryckman, associate professor of epidemiology; Cassie Spracklen, doctoral student in epidemiology; and Marin Schweitzer, assistant professor of internal medicine.

The researchers analyzed 50 studies into the effects of domestic violence by a partner or ex-partner on risk of pre-term birth, low birth weight, and small-for-gestational-age babies. The combined results evaluated more than 5 million women from 17 countries, 15,000 of whom had experienced domestic violence.

The results found that domestic violence doubled the risk of pre-term birth and low birth weight. This risk further increased for women who experienced two or more types of domestic violence during their pregnancy.

The paper was published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2016.

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