Introduction: Spousal physical violence in pregnancy is a major public health and human rights concern. Identifying its prevalence and understanding the womenâ€™s attitude towards this phenomenon in our environment is key to developing strategies for effective intervention.
Methods: This was a cross sectional study of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), Uyo in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Information was collected using a pre-tested self-administered questionnaire instrument.
Results: The mean age of respondents was 28.72 ± 4.47 years with a range of 16 â€“ 48 years. The prevalence of spousal physical violence in the current pregnancy was 10.3%. 45.2% of those who experienced violence in the current pregnancy also experienced violence in other pregnancies while 73.7% of those who reported spousal violence in previous pregnancies also experienced violence in the current pregnancy. There was a significant relationship between spousal physical violence and the womanâ€™s number of deliveries/parity (x2 = 16.145, p=0.025), marital status (x2=11.105, p=0.025) and husbandâ€™s occupation (x2=12.786, p=0.047). About half of the respondents expressed the view that spousal violence was not excusable under any circumstance while 22.7% believed that it could be excused under certain circumstances. Also 50.0% of those who experienced physical violence in the current pregnancy expressed the view that physical violence can be excusable. Most of the women (65.8%) either kept the incidence of abuse secret or just did nothing. None reported to the police.
Conclusion: Spousal physical abuse is still prevalent in our society. There is need to enlighten the women on this phenomenon in order to get their cooperation towards its eradication.
Domestic violence, spousal abuse, antenatal care, abuse in pregnancy, Niger delta, Nigeria