The lasting impact of family and domestic violence on neonatal health outcomes

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2 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To compare the health of neonates born to women who experienced family and domestic violence (FDV) 12 months prior to birth, with the health of neonates born to women with an earlier history of FDV and women with no history of FDV.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort of women who experienced FDV within 12 months of birth (antenatal FDV [AFDV]) (n = 1230) was identified using data from the Western Australia (WA) Police Force Incident Management System and WA Hospital Morbidity Data Collection. Two comparison cohorts were used, the first including women with a history of FDV (HFDV) 12-60 months prior to birth (n = 1549) and the second with no history of FDV (NFDV) recorded (n = 3690). Hospital, birth, mortality, and congenital anomaly data were used in generalized linear models to examine and compare neonatal health outcomes.

RESULTS: Women in the AFDV group had higher proportions of factors associated with poor neonatal outcomes including smoking (42.4%), substance use (23.0%), and mental health disorders (34.8%). Neonates born to AFDV mothers had significantly higher odds of congenital anomalies (OR: 1.51, 95% CI: 1.18-1.94), low birth weight (1.74, 1.45-2.10), and preterm birth (1.48, 1.22-1.79) compared with neonates born to NFDV mother. Neonatal health outcomes in those born to AFDV women were not significantly different from those born to HFDV women.

CONCLUSIONS: Antenatal and historical FDV were associated with poor neonatal health outcomes. Additional pregnancy and social support should be offered to women who have experienced FDV during or prior to pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-586
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Early online date3 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


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