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Although pregnancy is generally considered to be a happy time for couples, abuse can happen more often and get worse when women are pregnant. Not only do abusive men often become more abusive when their partners are pregnant, but a pregnancy can be the first time a woman experiences abuse from her partner. If your partner seems jealous of the developing baby or the extra attention you are getting; is more needy for your exclusive attention; tries to control where you go, who you see, or the money you use; verbally attacks you; or physically threatens you or someone else, you are at risk for physical abuse during your pregnancy.
If you are physically abused while pregnant, your baby is also at risk for physical harm or death. This is not a time to hope that the physical abuse will stop—some women find that violence gets worse when they are pregnant. This is a time to find safety for yourself and your child or children.
If you are concerned for your safety, devise a safety plan:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline can link you to help in your area. A nationwide database includes detailed information on domestic violence shelters, other emergency shelters, legal advocacy and assistance programs, and social service programs.
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