A new study says that physical abuse and ill treatment by in-laws during and after pregnancy is a common occurrence in India.
Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher Anita Raj and her team, found that more than one in four women in the low-income strata reported violence or other forms of maltreatment from in-laws during pregnancy or after giving birth.
Abuse ranged from denial of food during pregnancy to cutting access to medical care.
"These findings have critical implications for perinatal [intimate partner violence] prevention and intervention efforts with South Asian women and in cultural contexts where extended families form an important social unit," the authors wrote.
While rates of physical abuse were relatively low, 20 percent of women reported that in-laws had insulted them or their families in front of others during their pregnancies.
In one interview included in the study, a 17-year-old Muslim woman says her in-laws "want a boy child, and as you know, I delivered [a] girl child. My sister-in-law has some uterus problems, so she is unable to conceive a child. Now my in-laws want me to deliver another child [a boy] and give the girl to my sister-in-law."
The study brings to fore the need to screen family abuse and indicate that screening for in-law abuse also will likely improve the detection of abuse by husbands.
The study is published in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.