Domestic Violence and Pregnancy
Domestic violence is more common than any other health problem among women during pregnancy. It greatly threatens both the mother's and baby's health. Domestic violence is a pattern of assault and coercive behavior, including physical, sexual and psychological attacks, as well as economic coercion that adults use against their partners.
This includes, but is not limited to, being:
- Hit, hurt, pushed
- Threatened or made to feel afraid by your partner
- Forced to have sex or do something you didn't want to do
- Kept from your family, friends or from being in control of your own money
Effects of Domestic Violence During Pregnancy
If you are being hurt or threatened by your partner while you are pregnant, you have a higher chance of:
- Injury to your uterus
- Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature baby
- Getting a dangerous vaginal infection from forced or unprotected sex with someone who has an infection
- Increased first and second trimester bleeding
Violence also increases your baby's risk of:
- Weighing too little at birth
- Having trouble nursing or taking a bottle
- Having sleeping problems
- Being harder to comfort than other babies
- Having problems learning to walk, talk and learn normally
- Experiencing lasting emotional trauma
- Being physically and sexually abused
- Being hurt during a fight
In order to have a healthy pregnancy and baby, you must be free of violence and fear. If you are experiencing domestic violence, it is important that you contact your health care provider for help. There are a variety of community resources available that will help you develop a safety plan for you and your baby.
Living in a Non-Violent Community (LINC) at UCSF
Case management and mental health services for families with children birth to age 18 and community education and training
Phone: (415) 885-7636
SafeStart Support Line
Information, 24-hour support and case management for parents of children under age 6 exposed to violence
Phone: (415) 565-SAVE
(415) 565- 7283
24-hour counseling services, shelter availability and referrals for legal assistance
Phone: (415) 864-4722
La Casa de Las Madres
24-hour counseling and shelter resources, with Spanish speakers available
Phone: (877) 503-1850
Asian Women's Shelter
Counseling, advocacy and shelter resources for the Asian community
Phone: (415) 751-7110
Communities United Against Violence (CUAV)
Advocacy and support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community affected by domestic violence
Phone: (415) 333-HELP
Teen Dating Violence Hotline
24-hour counseling and referrals for teens
Phone: (877) 923-0700
Advocacy service in the criminal justice system through the San Francisco District Attorney's Office
Phone: (415) 553-9044
National Domestic Violence Hotline
24-hour toll-free information and referrals from anywhere in the U.S.
Phone: (800) 799-SAFE
UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.
Living Without Violence
Violence against women is never justified and it can take many forms including physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse. Learn more here.
Anemia and Pregnancy
During the last half of pregnancy, your body makes more red blood cells which can cause Anemia. Learn more about causes and prevention here.
Coping With Common Discomforts of Pregnancy
Pregnancy produces many physical changes. Aside from weight and body shape, other alterations in your body chemistry and function take place. Learn more.
Diabetes in Pregnancy
Gestational diabetes refers to diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs in about 7 percent of all pregnancies. Learn more.
Dietary Recommendations for Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes occurs in about 7 percent of all pregnancies. It usually arises in the second half of pregnancy and goes away as soon as the baby is born.
Eating Right Before and During Pregnancy
It is important to get the nutrients you need both before getting pregnant and during your pregnancy. Find more nutrition information including macros here.
Exercise During Pregnancy
Most women can, and should, engage in moderate exercise during pregnancy. Exercise can help you stay in shape and prepare your body for labor and delivery
FAQ: Prenatal Tests
Commonly asked questions regarding Prenatal Tests including, types available, positive screenings, diagnostic testing, health insurance coverage, and more.
HIV and Pregnancy
If you are pregnant, we recommend you be tested for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) even if you do not think you are at risk. Learn more here.
Sex During Pregnancy
The pregnancy may alter how a woman and her partner feel about making love, and differences in sexual need may arise. Learn more here.
Substance Use During Pregnancy
While pregnant, it is best to eat well, stay healthy and avoid ingesting anything that might be harmful to the mother's or baby's health. Learn more.
The Circumcision Decision
If you give birth to a boy, you will be asked if you'd like him circumcised. This is a matter to be considered carefully before the baby is born. Learn more.
Great Expectations Pregnancy Classes
Get ready for the baby! Choose from a variety of classes that prepare moms and partners for pregnancy, birth, baby care, breastfeeding and parenting.
Lactation Consultant Support
Get support for all your breastfeeding needs. Troubleshoot with a lactation consultant, find equipment and supplies, join a support group and more.
Women's Health Resource Center
Access a range of UCSF women's health resources, such as classes, support groups, a lending library and services focused on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.