To evaluate the prevalence of a history of physical and sexual abuse in pregnant, economically stable, middle-class women with access to comprehensive health care, we issued self-report questionnaires to prenatal orientation classes at Wilford Hall Medical Center from October 19, 1992, to March 15, 1993. After identifying women who had been physically or sexually abused, we identified the assailant, the number of occurrences, and injuries resulting from the abuse. Of the 563 women who responded, 100 (18%) reported previous physical or sexual abuse. Seven women (1%) stated that they were physically abused during the pregnancy. Women were more likely to be physically than sexually abused by a spouse or lover (46% versus 13%). To identify women who have a history of abuse and to address their needs, practitioners should incorporate taking a history of physical and sexual abuse during the routine new obstetric visit.
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