Counseling helps moms-to-be with abusive partner

Reuters Health 4 Feb 10

In a large study conducted in Washington, D.C., a short intervention reduced repeat episodes of domestic violence among a group of pregnant African-American women. The intervention also made it less likely for the pregnancy to end in very premature births. The intervention involved counseling sessions during prenatal care visits. Trained psychologists or social workers advised women in abusive relationships on safety behaviors and preventive options like filing protection orders, and provided information on types of violence and violence cycles. Information on smoking cessation and depression care was also provided. “Many programs intervene on a single risk and I think it is important to address multiple problems at once,” Dr. Michele Kiely, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, told Reuters Health. “I think that was part of our success. If I were to do it again, I would consider adding interventions on alcohol and on illicit drug use. ”

In the study, Kiely and colleagues randomly assigned 1,044 pregnant African-American women to receive either usual care or the intervention. At the first interview, 169 women in the intervention group and 167 women in the usual care group said they had been abused by their partner. Overall, the intervention cut the chances of recurrent episodes of violence by more than half, according to a report in the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.