Are domestic violence and the excessive use of alcohol risk factors for preterm birth?
Violence has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcome, which led us to determine whether patients who deliver preterm, experience more domestic violence than those who deliver at term. Two groups of patients were assessed, a preterm labour group and a low-risk group. A total of 229 patients were interviewed: 99 in the low-risk (LR) group and 130 in the preterm labour (PTL) group. The PTL group experienced significantly more violence throughout their lives than the LR group. Experiences of violence within the last year or during the pregnancy were also higher for the PTL group. This group smoked significantly more cigarettes per day, used more alcohol, and had a higher incidence of syphilis than the LR group. Violence alone does not seem to cause PTL directly, but is part of a low socioeconomic lifestyle. The fact that alcohol-use is so high among these women needs to be addressed and the need for education on values and respect, family planning use, and low-risk sexual behaviour is once again challenged. © Oxford University Press 2005; all rights reserved.