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Intimate partner violence and pregnancy spacing: results from a meta-analysis of individual participant time-to-event data from 29 low-and middle-income countries
Authors: Lauren Maxwell, Arijit Nandi, Andrea Benedetti, Karen Devries, Jennifer Wagman, and Claudia García-Moreno
Source: BMJ Global Health, 3(1); DOI: 2017- 000304
Topic(s): Birth interval
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: JAN 2018
Abstract: Introduction Inadequately spaced pregnancies, defined as pregnancies fewer than 18 months apart, are linked to maternal, infant, and child morbidity and mortality, and adverse social, educational and economic outcomes in later life for women and children. Quantifying the relation between intimate partner violence (IPV) and women’s ability to space and time their pregnancies is an important part of understanding the burden of disease related to IPV. Methods We applied Cox proportional hazards models to monthly data from the Demographic and Health Surveys’ Reproductive Health Calendar to compare interpregnancy intervals for women who experienced physical, sexual and/ or emotional IPV in 29 countries. We conducted a one-stage meta-analysis to identify the periods when women who experienced IPV were at the highest risk of unintended and incident pregnancy, and a two-stage meta-analysis to explore cross-country variations in the magnitude of the relation between women’s experience of IPV and pregnancy spacing. Results For the one-stage analysis, considering 52 959 incident pregnancies from 90 446 women, which represented 232 394 person-years at risk, women’s experience of IPV was associated with a 51% increase in the risk of pregnancy (95% CI 1.38 to 1.66), although this association decreased over time. When limiting our inference to unintended pregnancies that resulted in live births, women’s experience of IPV was associated with a 30% increase in the risk of unintended pregnancy (95% CI 1.25 to 1.34; n=13 541 pregnancies, 92 848 women, 310 319 person-years at risk). In the two-stage meta-analyses, women’s experience of IPV was associated with a 13% increase in the probability of incident pregnancy (95% CI 1.07 to 1.20) and a 28% increase in the likelihood of unintended pregnancy (95% CI 1.19 to 1.38). Conclusions Across countries, women’s experience of IPV is associated with a reduction in time between pregnancies and an increase in the risk of unintended pregnancy; the magnitude of this effect varied by country and over time.