Article

Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 700-712

Abuse from In-Laws during Pregnancy and Post-Partum: Qualitative and Quantitative Findings from Low-income Mothers of Infants in Mumbai, India

  • Anita RajAffiliated withDepartment of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Boston University School of Public HealthDepartment of Medicine, Section of General Internal Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine Email author 
  • , Shagun SabarwalAffiliated withDepartment of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health
  • , Michele R. DeckerAffiliated withDepartment of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • , Saritha NairAffiliated withNational Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Indian Council of Medical Research
  • , Meghna JethvaAffiliated withNational Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Indian Council of Medical Research
  • , Suneeta KrishnanAffiliated withWomen’s Global Health Imperative, RTI InternationalDivision of Epidemiology, University of CaliforniaEpidemiology & Statistics Unit, St. John’s Research Institute
  • , Balaiah DontaAffiliated withNational Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Indian Council of Medical Research
  • , Niranjan SaggurtiAffiliated withPopulation Council
  • , Jay G. SilvermanAffiliated withDepartment of Society, Human Development and Health, Harvard School of Public Health

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Abstract

To examine experiences of perinatal (in pregnancy or post-partum) abuse from in-laws and to assess associations between such experiences and perinatal intimate partner violence (IPV) from husbands, as reported by Indian women residing in low-income communities in Mumbai. The present study includes both qualitative and quantitative research conducted across two phases of study. The qualitative phase involved face-to-face, semi-structured in-depth interviews (n = 32) with women seeking health care for their infants (6 months or younger) and self-reporting emotional or physical abuse from their husband. The quantitative arm involved survey data collection (n = 1,038) from mothers seeking immunization for their infants 6 months or younger at three large Urban Health Centers in Mumbai. Results of the qualitative study documented the occurrence of both non-physical and physical abuse from in-laws during pregnancy and post-partum. Non-physical forms of abuse included forced heavy domestic labor, food denial and efforts toward prevention of medical care acquisition. Quantitative results demonstrated that 26.3% of the sample reported perinatal abuse (non-physical and physical) from in-laws and that women experiencing perinatal sexual or physical IPV from husbands were significantly more likely to report perinatal abuse from in-laws (AOR = 5.33, 95% CI = 3.93–7.23). Perinatal abuse from in-laws is not uncommon among women in India and may be compromising maternal and child health in this context; such abuse is also linked to perinatal violence from husbands. Programs and interventions that screen and address IPV in pregnant and post-partum populations in India should be developed to include consideration of in-laws.

Keywords

Intimate partner violence In-law abuse India Pregnancy and postpartum