Domestic Violence During Pregnancy and Its Effects on Birth Weight: Perspective from Nepal

  • Buna Bhandari
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Pregnancy is a critical period for shaping the health of both mother and her baby. Domestic violence during pregnancy is documented as a significant public health issue linked with adverse health outcomes for the newborn, such as low birth weight and preterm birth. The prevalence of violence experienced by pregnant women ranges from 0.9 to 20.1% in different societies. Violence during pregnancy accounts for approximately 15% of all gender-based violence cases in Nepal. The estimated incidence of low birth weight is 16% globally, 19% in the least developed and developing countries, and 7% in developed countries. The prevalence of low birth weight, mainly an outcome of maternal undernutrition, is relatively high in Nepal, ranging from 14 to 43%, and it is a major public health concern. Birth weight is a major predictor of infant growth and survival, and it is linked with early mortality and morbidity. It is documented that women who experienced any type of abuse—physical, sexual, or emotional—during pregnancy are more prone to give birth to a baby with lower birth weight than non-abused women. Domestic violence during pregnancy interferes with the nutritional status of women, leading to suboptimal baby weight gain. The adverse consequences of violence during pregnancy on birth outcomes are well documented.


Abuse Domestic violence Intimate partner violence Nutrition Low birth weight 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Buna Bhandari
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community Medicine and Public HealthMaharajgunj Medical Campus, Tribhuvan University Institute of MedicineKathmanduNepal

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