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Health After Pregnancy

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Dealing with the Unexpected

Abuse After Baby is Born

Key Points

  • No one deserves to be abused. You are not to blame.
  • There are many different forms of woman abuse.
  • Abuse can happen more often or get worse after a baby is born.
  • Abuse can cause health problems for you and your baby.

How safe are you and your baby?

Woman abuse is a form of power and control that can take many forms. It can happen to any woman regardless of age, race or ethnic background. Women who are abused often feel ashamed and alone.

1 out of 6 pregnant women is abused.* If you were abused by your partner during pregnancy, it might continue after your baby is born or get even worse.

No one deserves to be abused. You are not to blame.

See where to get help

Forms of abuse

There are many different forms of woman abuse, all of which can harm you and your baby:

  • physical (i.e., hitting, slapping, punching, choking)
  • sexual (i.e., forcing sexual relations, unwanted sexual touching)
  • emotional/psychological (i.e., name-calling, humiliating, threatening)
  • financial (i.e., controlling all money and finances)
  • environmental (i.e., damaging possessions, harming pets)
  • religious/spiritual (i.e., using beliefs to punish)
  • stalking (i.e., following, sending threatening e-mails)

Types of abuse after a baby is born**

Abuse can happen more often or get worse after a baby is born.

Types of abuse after a woman has given birth include:

  • Not letting the woman see her baby.
  • Demanding sex right after the birth.
  • Making negative comments to the woman about how she looks.
  • Blaming the woman for the sex of the baby.
  • Making the woman feel bad about spending too much time with her baby.
  • Making the woman feel like she's a bad mother.
  • Threatening to take the baby away.
  • Stopping a woman from returning to work or from getting a job.
  • Not giving a woman enough money to buy things for the baby.
  • Blaming the woman when the baby is crying.
  • Not letting the woman breastfeed or making her breastfeed.

Signs that you're being abused

If you're being abused, you might:

  • Feel depressed and anxious.
  • Feel scared and lonely.
  • Smoke or use drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Eat poorly.
  • Experience injuries.

How abuse can affect you and your baby

Abuse can not only cause health problems for you and your baby, but can also affect your physical, emotional, sexual and psychological well-being.

When children are exposed to domestic violence they can experience a range of emotional, behavioural and psychological problems.

Visit Peel Public Health's Women Abuse Prevention website to learn more about the health effects of family violence.

*Middlesex-London Task Force Report, 2000
**Health Canada

Related links:

Speak with a Peel Public Health Nurse
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216

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Revised: Thursday September 05 2019


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