Staying safe in an abusive relationship is tough enough, but when paired with pregnancy, it can make for a really dangerous time for a woman. We’ve come up with some tips for increasing your safety if you are pregnant and in an abusive relationship
Remember that this information is not meant to scare, but rather to inform. Abuse in a relationship where a woman is pregnant can result in some truly terrible outcomes. Here are a few tips to stay safe:
Get someone close involved. Having a really good friend or family member to fall back on is an effective way to make sure you always have a safety net. In the case of pregnancy, telling your parents or other close adults about the danger your partner is putting you in is the safest way to go. They can help you figure out the next steps to take while keeping you and your child safe from harm. Check out our tips on how to tell someone about the abuse.
Recognize the warning signs. Noticing when something is about to go wrong gives you an opportunity to react in the safest way possible. If you notice that your partner is starting to get angry or moody, it’s best for you to not be alone with that person. If you already are alone with them, try to let the tension diminish. If your partner starts displaying abusive behavior, your safety should be your first priority. If a dangerous situation is inescapable, make sure you’re taking steps to keep yourself safe. This can include staying on the first floor of a house with stairs, staying away from sharp objects, locking yourself in a safe room with a phone, using the fetal position around your stomach when being physically abused and calling 911 if you feel threatened. Any time 911 is called, someone is legally obligated to come to you. Read about what the police can do after you’ve called them.
Keep medical treatment in mind. Your family doctor, or any doctor, needs to know that you are pregnant. Regular check ups are important for any expecting mother, but even more so for a pregnant woman in an abusive relationship because of the potential dangers being abused has on a developing child. If a doctor knows what’s going on medically, they can help you to keep yourself healthy. Know that while they won’t dig for information from you about your abuser, doctors are mandatory reporters, meaning they have to report anything illegal they witness to the proper authorities.
There are no obligations. Abusive partners can use pregnancy as a way to keep you in their life, connected to you through the child. In a healthy relationship, you should have complete control of what you do in regards to the relationship. You and your partner should be a collaborative team that supports each other through each decision made. When you get pregnant, abusers see it as another means of control, and most of the time abuse increases after the pregnancy. Don’t feel obligated to stay with the father of the child if you don’t want to.
Pregnancy can be a dangerous, sensitive time. Taking care of yourself is incredibly important. Call, chat or text us if you have any questions about staying safe in an abusive relationship