Human Reproduction Archives
Human Reproduction Archives
RESEARCH ARTICLE Sexual violence, Reproductive health

Physical and sexual violence during pregnancy in the northeastern backlands of Brazil: a cross-sectional study

Maria Misrelma Moura Bessa, Jefferson Drezett, Hugo Macedo Ferraz e Souza Junior, Fernando Adami, Italla Maria Pinheiro Bezerra, Luiz Carlos de Abreu

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Objective: To identify the prevalence and characteristics related to violence during the gestational period. Methods: A cross-sectional study performed at a Maternity Hospital in the city of Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará, Brazil. The population was composed of 360 postpartum women who were questioned about the occurrence of physical or sexual violence during pregnancy. Cases of violence committed by an intimate partner or other aggressors were considered. The instrument used was the Portuguese version of the Abuse Assessment Screen, applied confidentially. We used the prevalence of 20% violence against women during pregnancy estimated by the World Health Organization, with absolute error of 5%, significance level of 5% and test power of 80%. The data were analyzed with the Epinfo program, version 3.5.2. Pearson’s chi-square test was used, with a p-value of <0.05 and a 95% confidence interval. The study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee, ABC Medial School, N. 391,622. Results: Sexual violence 19.2% (69) surpassed the prevalence of physical violence 7.8% (28) among pregnant women who were surveyed. The common variable that showed relevance among women who suffered physical and sexual violence was low income in 96.4% and 78.2%, respectively. Conclusions: While a variety of factors influence gestational violence, low income women had higher rates of exposure to the cycle of violence in this population.


Violence against woman, Sex offenses, Physical abuse, Pregnant women, Intimate Partner Violence.


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