Critical Analysis of Domestic Violence in Pregnancy

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The paper explores the prevalence of domestic violence in pregnancy and the characteristics of the women affected. The article was published in 2017 in the Journal of Clinical Nursing by John Wiley & Sons, an academic publishing company. This is a quantitative, descriptive, and correlational study that was based on two Portuguese health institutions with a sample size of 852 (N=852), which is large enough to make precise and accurate conclusions.

Almeida, specifically, specializes in maternal health and obstetrics nursing and has a Master in Science of Nursing. All other authors are experienced in Community Nursing, Medical-Surgical Nursing as well as maternal health and obstetrics Nursing. This means that they have a background in the field in which they are conducting their study and they are reputable sources of knowledge and information. It is important to explore domestic violence in pregnancy because it is a worldwide phenomenon as evidenced by the fact that the sample is taken from Portuguese health institutions and for our purposes this would also apply to Canada. The goal of the paper is to determine the prevalence of domestic violence among women using three dimensions: physical, psychological, and sexual. It also explores the characteristics of these women on dimensions such as level of education, income, and ethnicity. The authors state that, “The main objectives of this study were to determine the prevalence of DV in pregnancy” (Almeida et al. , 2017, p. 2422). According to Almeida et al. (2017) the study found that nearly half of the sample experienced some form of domestic violence, psychological being the most prevalent. Domestic violence is a wide scale problem that affects many families. Determining the pervasiveness and location can help health care professionals or even law enforcement assist the family.

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This article is relevant to maternal health nursing because domestic violence during pregnancy may cause negative health outcomes for the child, let alone the mother. The stress the mother feels from the abuse can affect the child before it is born and contribute to future health outcomes like anxiety, insomnia, and low self-esteem (Almeida et al. , 2017, p. 2418). In order to raise awareness about a topic that is all too often concealed by the victim and to reduce the stigma surrounding abuse, especially during pregnancy, proper education is important and this article provides that for us. To raise a healthy child, it is important for the mother and father to have a healthy relationship before, during, and after pregnancy. There are many factors that contribute to this including education, employment, ethnicity and age, so we must recognize these when providing our initial nursing assessment to prioritize our care. By asking focused assessment questions and documenting our findings the database for domestic violence demographics will improve and so will our awareness in general. We will be more able to deliver client-centered, culturally competent care. Since psychological abuse is the most prevalent form of domestic violence according to our article implementing high quality psychiatric care for new mothers is a top priority for us. Using our skills in therapeutic communication is important in our practice, especially when interacting with patients who are new mothers and potential victims of abuse.

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