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Facts for Life

Safe Motherhood

Supporting Information

8.

Violence against women is a serious public health problem in most communities. When a woman is pregnant, violence is very dangerous to both the woman and her pregnancy. It increases the risk of miscarriage, premature labour and having a low-birthweight baby.

Violence and abuse are unacceptable at any time. Women who are abused during pregnancy may suffer from early labour and could lose their babies as a result. Babies can be born with low birthweight, which can affect their health and survival.

Health workers, families and communities should be aware of these dangers, provide protection, and work to prevent and eliminate violence against women. Local authorities, with support from organizations and community leaders, have the responsibility to: 1) take action to prevent violence against women and challenge social norms that increase women's risk for violence and abuse; 2) enforce laws protecting women from violence and abuse; and 3) provide accessible protection and support services for abused women.