Constrained Choice, Perinatal Health, and Intimate Partner Victimization (IPV)
Our findings affirm that the dynamics of IPV exist in relationships prior to pregnancy, whether or not the parties involved recognize the maltreatment as abuse. However how women perceive their relationships, as well as how visible they may be to others, are of relevance for identification and intervention. First, pregnancy may be a tangible precursor to IPV - abuse dynamics exist in the relationship prior to pregnancy, but are not overtly recognized by the victim until she becomes pregnant. Second, pregnancy may be an aggravator of already recognized IPV - women know they are in abusive relationships and pregnancy works to affirm this recognition. Third, pregnancy may serve as a temporary mitigator of IPV - women recognize they’re being abused but feel that the abuse stops or lessons during pregnancy. Such findings elucidate applications of constrained choice theory within high-risk perinatal contexts, and subsequent best practices with women with limited options within extreme health risk scenarios.