Pregnant & Experiencing Domestic Violence? Get Help Confidentially

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Domestic violence, which is also known as intimate partner violence (IPV),  affects around 324,000 pregnant people every year in the United States. Violence against pregnant people is not only harmful to the person experiencing the violence directly, but also impacts the health of their baby, both in utero and after birth. The affects of domestic violence can be long-lasting for parent and baby. Homicide is the leading cause of traumatic death to pregnant and postpartum women (31 percent).  

Sometimes, it may not be obvious what constitutes intimate partner violence. The following list is based on information from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and may help you understand if what is happening to you is domestic violence. In general, domestic violence is when a partner/loved one scares, hurts or continually puts you down. 

Domestic violence looks like a partner who:

  • Embarrasses/makes fun of you in front of others
  • Diminishes/puts down your accomplishments or goals
  • Makes you feel like you can’t make decisions on your own
  • Intimidates or threatens you so you will do what they want
  • Tells you “you’re nothing without me”
  • Grabs, pushes, pinches, shoves, hits, or otherwise treats you roughly physically
  • Threatens or physically harms your pets 
  • Calls you several times when you’re away to make sure of your location — that you are where you said you’d be
  • Blames drugs or alcohol for their behavior toward you
  • Blames you for anything/everything, including how they feel/act
  • Pressures you sexually  
  • Makes you feel like you’re trapped in the relationship
  • Prevents you from doing things you want, including spending time with people you care about
  • Won’t let you leave after a fight
  • Leaves you somewhere outside the home after a fight to “teach you a lesson”

Still unsure? Find out common ways people feel when they are being abused

Get Help Confidentially 

If you’re in immediate or possible immediate danger, including threat of danger from a partner, call 911 right away. The immediate and long-term health and safety of you and your baby is critical — don’t wait or hope for the danger to pass! 

If you believe you’re being abused and not in immediate danger, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or text to 88788. You can also chat live on the National Domestic Violence Hotline website. The Hotline is open 24/7 and offers confidential and anonymous help. Advocates at the Hotline will first check in on you and your wellbeing, and then will work to understand your situation better and brainstorm with you ways to help. Services are free and Hotline advocates will not judge you. 

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