Child Abuse Study: Health Complications after Birth

Published 06/11 2014 07:17PM

Updated 06/11 2014 07:22PM

LITTLE ROCK, AR - After years of medical research, a doctor at UAMS says she's discovered another consequence of child abuse.

It's very common for child abuse to lead to mental and physical problems later on in life, but Doctor Veronica Rainey with UAMS found out women who experience this kind of abuse may also have babies with health complications after birth.

Nearly 20 years, and more than 900 pregnancies later, Doctor Veronica Rainey says she made a shocking discovery in her research.

She says women who dealt with mental, emotional or physical child abuse are 10 percent more likely to deliver a baby that requires special care after birth.

"Knowing that it's a risk factor is going to be really important for obstetricians to take that into account in their assessment. It needs to be a question they ask," says Dr. Rainey.

The mothers in the study did not have any other risk factors and did receive pre-natal care.

Doctor Rainey says most of the babies suffered from pre-term delivery and respiratory issues, such as trouble breathing after birth.

Doctor Rainey says she would like to take her research a step further and find out how children of abused women are impacted as they grow up.

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