How Domestic Violence During Pregnancy Can Harm a Fetus
When a pregnant woman is subjected to domestic violence, she is not the only one who can suffer an injury. The fetus she is carrying at the time of the abuse can suffer in many different ways, some of which do not manifest until after birth.
Pregnancy is stressful for any couple. Sometimes, this stress drives individuals to behave in ways they never behaved before. When violence is already part of a relationship, a pregnancy can cause the violence to become more frequent or more severe. Below are various ways domestic violence can harm a fetus and eventually, a newborn and infant. If you or somebody you know is in an abusive relationship, pregnant or not, it is important that you or the victim exit the relationship safely.
Miscarriage and Stillbirth
Extreme violence can kill a fetus, which can result in a miscarriage or stillbirth. These events can be psychologically traumatizing for a mother. Miscarriages can also put women at risk of suffering physical injuries like excessive bleeding and infection.
Injuries to the Fetus
A developing fetus’ bones can break and its organs can be damaged from violent impact from an abuser. Physical violence is not just hitting and kicking – it can include withholding medical care from a victim or forcing him or her to use alcohol and drugs. These, too, can undermine a fetus’ development and potentially injure it. Other injuries a mother and fetus can suffer include hemorrhaging, uterine rupture, and placental abruption.
Domestic violence is linked to low birth weight and preterm labor. Babies born to mothers who were abused during their pregnancies can suffer from developmental delays and failure to thrive syndrome, which means the infant is not growing and reaching milestones appropriate for his or her age. Failure to thrive syndrome is commonly seen in undernourished infants and children.
Difficulty Bonding with the Mother
Domestic violence puts stress on a mother’s body, which puts stress on the fetus as a result. Babies born after abusive pregnancies often experience difficulty breastfeeding and bonding with their mothers, which can lead to emotional and behavioral problems later in life like extreme clinginess, aggression, and destructive behavior. When a woman stays in an abusive relationship and her child grows up in a household where violence is frequent and normal, the child is at risk of being injured and suffering from psychological trauma, which increases his or her risk of suffering from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Work with an Experienced St. Charles Family Lawyer
If you are in a violent relationship, find a way to get out as soon as possible. Once you are in a safe place, contact an experienced Kane County divorce lawyer to start the process of ending your marriage. Our team at Shaw Family Law, P.C. can be your advocate and your legal guide through the divorce process and the months that follow. Call us today at 630-584-5550 to start working with our team.