Midwives experiences of meeting pregnant women who are exposed to Intimate-Partner Violence at in-hospital prenatal ward: A qualitative study
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Department of Care Science, Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, Malmö, Sweden
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Malmö University Hospital, Malmö, Sweden
Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Eva-Kristina Persson   

Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Lund, 221 00, Sweden
Submission date: 2020-06-16
Final revision date: 2020-07-27
Acceptance date: 2020-08-02
Publication date: 2020-09-15
Eur J Midwifery 2020;4(September):35
Worldwide every third women is exposed to physical and/or sexual violence and pregnancy is no safe period for the women. The aim was to elucidate midwives experience of violence-exposed pregnant women who had been referred to a prenatal ward and were hospitalized.

An inductive qualitative method was used with four focus-group interviews performed with sixteen midwives working at in-hospital prenatal ward. The data were analyzed with content analysis.

Three categories emerged. ‘Professional area of responsibility’, the midwives working at in-hospital prenatal ward considered it was the responsibility of the midwives working at antenatal care to ask routinely in order to detect violence-exposed women. Signs of help-seeking were based on the pregnant woman’s behavior. Suspicion of intimate-partner violence was based on gut feeling. ‘Conditions for support’, the midwives strived to support pregnant women who were already identified as violence-exposed or if they had a suspicion that the pregnant woman was in a relationship where intimate partner violence occurred. ‘Barriers for giving support’, both the work-place layout and routines constituted a barrier. The midwives own emotional state could affect her handling of the situation.

The midwives working in-hospital considered it the responsibility of the midwives at antenatal healthcare to identify these women. The midwives had limited experience in dealing with violence-exposed pregnant women but recognized a number of signs and symptoms that could cause suspicion. They felt uncomfortable in the situation and expressed a need for both education and an action plan.

ANC: antenatal clinic, DV: domestic violence, IPV: Intimate-Partner Violence, WHO: World Health Organization
We are grateful to the sixteen midwives who shared their experience of violence-exposed pregnant women that had been referred to the in-hospital prenatal ward and were hospitalized, which gave us the possibility to conduct this study.
The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
There was no source of funding for this research.
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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