Obstetric Outcomes of Mothers Previously Exposed to Sexual Violence.


Gisladottir A, Luque-Fernandez MA, Harlow BL, Gudmundsdottir B, Jonsdottir E, Bjarnadottir RI, Hauksdottir A, Aspelund T, Cnattingius S, Valdimarsdottir UA. Obstetric Outcomes of Mothers Previously Exposed to Sexual Violence. PLoS One 2016;11(3):e0150726.

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BACKGROUND: There is a scarcity of data on the association of sexual violence and women's subsequent obstetric outcomes. Our aim was to investigate whether women exposed to sexual violence as teenagers (12-19 years of age) or adults present with different obstetric outcomes than women with no record of such violence. METHODS: We linked detailed prospectively collected information on women attending a Rape Trauma Service (RTS) to the Icelandic Medical Birth Registry (IBR). Women who attended the RTS in 1993-2010 and delivered (on average 5.8 years later) at least one singleton infant in Iceland through 2012 formed our exposed cohort (n = 1068). For each exposed woman's delivery, nine deliveries by women with no RTS attendance were randomly selected from the IBR (n = 9126) matched on age, parity, and year and season of delivery. Information on smoking and Body mass index (BMI) was available for a sub-sample (n = 792 exposed and n = 1416 non-exposed women). Poisson regression models were used to estimate Relative Risks (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). RESULTS: Compared with non-exposed women, exposed women presented with increased risks of maternal distress during labor and delivery (RR 1.68, 95% CI 1.01-2.79), prolonged first stage of labor (RR 1.40, 95% CI 1.03-1.88), antepartum bleeding (RR 1.95, 95% CI 1.22-3.07) and emergency instrumental delivery (RR 1.16, 95% CI 1.00-1.34). Slightly higher risks were seen for women assaulted as teenagers. Overall, we did not observe differences between the groups regarding the risk of elective cesarean section (RR 0.86, 95% CI 0.61-1.21), except for a reduced risk among those assaulted as teenagers (RR 0.56, 95% CI 0.34-0.93). Adjusting for maternal smoking and BMI in a sub-sample did not substantially affect point estimates. CONCLUSION: Our prospective data suggest that women with a history of sexual assault, particularly as teenagers, are at increased risks of some adverse obstetric outcomes.