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Effectiveness of a counselling intervention implemented in antenatal setting for pregnant women facing domestic violence: a pre-experimental study.



To assess the effectiveness of a counselling intervention in antenatal care settings for pregnant women who report domestic violence.


Pre experimental study with pretest/posttest design.


Two public hospitals in Mumbai, India.


In all, 2778 pregnant women accessing antenatal care (ANC) in the hospitals from February to November 2016 were approached for study participation; 2515 women consented. These women were screened by trained counsellors for domestic violence during pregnancy (domestic violence during pregnancy). Domestic violence during pregnancy was reported by 16.2% (408) of women. Of these, 155 women sought counselling services. Post intervention analyses were carried out with 142 women at 6 weeks post delivery; 13 women were not contactable.


The 442 women who reported domestic violence during pregnancy were provided a minimum of two counselling sessions by trained counsellors during their ANC visits. A counselling intake form was used to collect pre and post intervention data.

Main outcome measures

Prevalence of domestic violence during pregnancy, change in women's ability to cope, safety, and health.


Prevalence of domestic violence during pregnancy (16.1%) was comparable to those of common obstetric complications routinely screened for during ANC. In all, 60–65% women reported cognitive changes such as recognising impact of violence and need to speak out against it. In all, 50.7% women took action at the individual level to address domestic violence during pregnancy. This change was not statistically significant (Pvalue 0.193). Of the women studied, 35.9% adopted at least one safety measure, and 84% of the women reported better health status postintervention.


Routine enquiry and counselling for domestic violence during pregnancy are effective in improving women's ability to cope, safety, and health.


This study was funded by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.