Domestic violence leads to post-natal depression

London: Moms-to-be, it`s time to speak up if you suffer domestic violence, at least for the sake of your child, for a study says that emotional or physical abuse during pregnancy can lead to post-natal depression.

Researchers from King`s College University have based their findings on an analysis of 13,617 women who were asked to report their experiences of domestic abuse and assessed for post-natal depression.

The study found that women who suffered emotional or physical abuse during pregnancy were two-and-a-half times more likely to have depressive symptoms when their child was eight weeks old (25per cent) compared to those who had not (10 per cent), `The Daily Telegraph` reported.

The results estimated that, by the time they were 18 weeks` pregnant, six per had experienced emotional cruelty and two per cent physical cruelty.

Louise Howard, who led the study, said: "This strong link between antenatal and postnatal violence should help health workers identify future problems. Pregnancy is a time when women will come into frequent contact with health professionals and therefore are more likely to talk about domestic violence being suffered and psychiatric symptoms."

The study is published in the latest edition of `BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology`.

Professor Philip Steer, the journal`s editor-in-chief, added: "This is an important study as it highlights the issue of domestic violence which was also highlighted in the recent UK confidential enquiry into maternal deaths."