Skip to main content


Log in

Prevalence and Associated Factors of Intimate Partner Violence Among Pregnant Women Attending Kisumu District Hospital, Kenya

  • Published:
Maternal and Child Health Journal Aims and scope Submit manuscript


To determine prevalence and factors associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) among pregnant women seeking antenatal care. This was a cross-sectional study conducted at Kisumu District Hospital, Kenya amongst randomly selected pregnant women. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data. Participants self-reported about their own IPV experience (lifetime, 12 months prior to and during index pregnancy) and associated risk factors. Data were analyzed using Epi-info. The mean age of the 300 participants was 23.7 years. One hundred and ten (37 %) of them experienced at least one form of IPV during pregnancy. Psychological violence was the most common (29 %), followed by sexual (12 %), and then physical (10 %). Women who experienced IPV during pregnancy were more likely to have witnessed maternal abuse in childhood (aOR 2.27, 95 % CI = 1.05–4.89), been in a polygamous union (aOR 2.48, 95 % CI = 1.06–5.8), been multiparous (aOR 1.94, 95 % CI = 1.01–3.32) or had a partner who drank alcohol (aOR 2.32, 95 % CI = 1.21–4.45). Having a partner who attained tertiary education was protective against IPV (aOR 0.37, 95 % CI = 0.16–0.83). We found no association between HIV status and IPV. IPV is common among women seeking antenatal care at Kisumu District Hospital. Health care providers should be alerted to the possibility of IPV during pregnancy in women who witnessed maternal abuse in childhood, are multiparous, polygamous, have a partner who drinks alcohol or has low level education. Screening for IPV, support and referral is urgently needed to help reduce the burden experienced by pregnant women and their unborn babies.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. World Health Organization. (2005). Multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence against women.

  2. Heise, L., & Garcia-Moreno, C. (2002). Violence by intimate partners. In E. G. Krug, L. L. Dahlberg, J. A. Mercy, et al. (Eds.), World report on violence and health (pp. 87–121). Geneva: World Health Organization.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ahmed, S., Koenig, M. A., & Stephenson, R. (2006). Effects of domestic violence on perinatal and early-childhood mortality: Evidence from north India. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 1423–1428.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Boy, A., & Salihu, H. M. (2004). Intimate partner violence and birth outcomes: A systematic review. International Journal of Fertility and Women’s Medicine, 49, 159–164.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Campbell, J. C., Baty, M. L., Ghandour, R. M., et al. (2008). The intersection of intimate partner violence against women and HIV/AIDS: A review. International Journal of Injury Control and Safety, 15(4), 221–231.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Dunkle, K. (2004). Gender-based violence, relationship power, and risk of HIV infection in women attending antenatal clinics in South Africa. Lancet, 363, 1415–1421.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Plichta, S. B., & Falik, M. (2001). Prevalence of violence and its implications for women’s health. Women’s Health Issues, 11, 244–258.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Heise, L., Ellsberg, M., & Gottemoeller, M. (1999). Ending violence against women. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and ICF Macro. (2010). Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. Calverton: KNBS and ICF Macro.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Rwanda Demographic Health Survey. (2005). Institut National de la Statistique Ministére des Finances et de la Planification Économique Kigali, Rwanda an ORC Macro Calverton: Maryland USA, 2006; FR183.

  11. Cochran, W. G. (1963). Sampling Techniques (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Shamu, S., Abrahams, N., Temmerman, M., et al. (2011). A systematic review of african studies on intimate partner violence against pregnant women: prevalence and risk factors. PLoS One, 6(3), e17591.

    Article  PubMed  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Rosenberg, M. L., Mercy, J. A., & Hammond, W. R. (1998). Assaultive violence. In R. B. Wallace & B. N. Doebbeling (Eds.), Maxcy-Rosenau-Last Public Health and Preventive Medicine (14th ed., pp. 1226–1238). Stamford: Appleton and Lange.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Kerstin, E. E., & Högberg, U. (2002). Violence against pregnant women will remain hidden as long as no direct questions are asked. Midwifery, 18, 268–278.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Durand, J. G., & Schraiber, L. B. (2007). Violência na gestação entre usuárias de serviços públicos de saúde da Grande São Paulo: Prevalência e Fatores Associados. Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia, 10(3), 310–322.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Schraiber, L. B., D’Oliveira, A. F., & Couto, M. T. (2006). Violência e saúde: estudos científicos recentes. Revista de Saúde Pública, 40, 112–120.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Weiser, S. D., Leiter, K., Heisler, M., et al. (2006). A population-based study on alcohol and high-risk sexual behaviors in Botswana. PLoS Med, 3, e392.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  18. Karmaliani, R., Irfan, F., Bann, C. M., et al. (2008). Domestic violence prior to and during pregnancy among Pakistani women. Acta Obstetricia et Gynacologica Scandinavica, 87(11), 1194–1201.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Vung, N. D., Ostergren, P. O., & Krantz, G. (2008). Intimate partner violence against women in rural Vietnam—Different socio-demographic factors are associated with different forms of violence: need for new intervention guidelines? BMC Public Health, 8, 55.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Dunn, L. L., & Oths, K. S. (2004). Prenatal predictors of intimate partner abuse. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 33, 54–63.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Ezechi, O. C., Kalu, B. K., Ezechi, L. O., et al. (2004). Prevalence and pattern of domestic violence against pregnant Nigeria women. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 24, 652–656.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Khurram, N., & Hyder, A. (2003). Violence against pregnant women in developing countries: review of evidence. European Journal of Public Health, 13, 105–107.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Fonck, K., Leye, E., Kidula, N., et al. (2005). Increased risk of HIV in women experiencing physical partner violence in Nairobi. Kenya. AIDS and behavior, 9(3), 335–339.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Ntaganira, J., Muula, A. S., Siziya, S., et al. (2009). Factors associated with intimate partner violence among pregnant rural women in Rwanda. Rural and Remote Health (online), 9, 1153. Available from:

  25. Wilson, K. S., Silberberg, M. R., Brown, A. J., et al. (2007). Health needs and barriers to healthcare of women who have experienced intimate partner violence. Journal of Womens Health (Larchmt), 16, 1485–1498.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Nicolaidis, C. (2007). Partner interference with health care: do we want one more piece of a complex puzzle? Journal of General Internal Medicine, 22, 1216–1217.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  27. Lipsky, S., Holt, V. L., Easterling, T. R., et al. (2004). Police-reported intimate partner violence during pregnancy and the risk of antenatal hospitalization. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 8, 55–63.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references


We would like to thank the following for their support and contributions: The antenatal clinic staff at Kisumu District Hospital and clients who sought antennal care during the study period, Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program, Kenya (FELTP-K) faculty and administration, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Ministries of Public Health and Sanitation and Medical Services- Kenya and finally the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) for their financial contribution.

Conflict of interest

The authors state that they have no conflicts of interests.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lyndah A. Makayoto.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Makayoto, L.A., Omolo, J., Kamweya, A.M. et al. Prevalence and Associated Factors of Intimate Partner Violence Among Pregnant Women Attending Kisumu District Hospital, Kenya. Matern Child Health J 17, 441–447 (2013).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: