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Intimate partner violence among pregnant women in Kenya: forms, perpetrators and associations
Authors: Mariella Stiller, Till Bärnighausen and Michael Lowery Wilson
Source: BMC Women's Health, Volume 22, issue 210, DOI:
Topic(s): Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Pregnancy outcomes
Women's health
Country: Africa
Published: JUN 2022
Abstract: Background: Intimate Partner violence (IPV) among pregnant women is a significant problem of public health importance. Nevertheless, there are relatively few studies which have examined the phenomenon in sub-Saharan settings. The aim of this study was to provide an overview of the prevalence, perpetrators, and associated factors of IPV during pregnancy in Kenya. Methods: We were making use of the 2014 Kenyan Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) data and included women and girls of reproductive age (15–49 years) who have ever been pregnant (n=4331). A weighted sample of respondents who have experienced violence during pregnancy (n=397) were selected for further bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses in order to examine the association between IPV and socio-demographic factors. Results: The prevalence of violence among pregnant women in Kenya was 9.2%, perpetrated mostly by the current husband or partner (47.6%), followed by the former husband or partner (31.5%). Physical violence was the most common (78.6%), followed by emotional (67.8%) and sexual (34.8%). Having one or two children (aOR=0.68; CI=0.53-0.88), having secondary or higher education (aOR=0.53; CI=0.40-0.69) and being 18 years and above at first cohabitation (aOR=0.75; CI=0.60-0.94) and at sexual debut (aOR=0.65; CI=0.53-0.80) were significantly associated with fewer reports of violence during pregnancy. Pregnant women who were divorced, separated or widowed (aOR=1.91; CI=1.47-2.47), who were employed (aOR=1.34; CI=1.06-1.70), who had witnessed their fathers beat their mothers (aOR=1.59; CI=1.28-1.97) and who had primary education (aOR=1.53; CI=1.11-2.14) were significantly more likely to experience violence. Conclusions: To prevent violence among pregnant women in Kenya, training health care providers should go hand in hand with interventions sensitising and mobilising community members, both addressing the socio-demographic drivers of IPV during pregnancy and directing a particular attention to the most vulnerable ones.