London: Moms-to-be, it's time to speak up if you suffer domestic violence, at least for the sake of your child, for a study says that emotional or physical abuse during pregnancy can lead to post-natal depression.
   
Researchers from King's College University have based their findings on an analysis of 13,617 women who were asked to report their experiences of domestic abuse which lead to post-natal depression.

During the study it was found that women who suffered emotional or physical abuse during pregnancy were two-and-a-half times more likely to have depressive symptoms when their child was eight weeks old (25per cent) compared to those who had not (10 per cent), 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.

The results estimated that, by the time they were 18 weeks' pregnant, six percent of women had experienced emotional cruelty while two per cent tasted physical cruelty.

Louise Howard, who led the study, said: "This strong link between antenatal and postnatal violence should help health workers identify future problems. Pregnancy is a time when women will come into frequent contact with health professionals and therefore , are more likely to talk about domestic violence they suffered and other psychiatric symptoms."

The study has been published in the latest edition of 'BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology'.

Professor Philip Steer, the journal's editor-in-chief, added: "This is an important study as it espouses the issue of domestic violence and also  highlighted it in the recent UK confidential enquiry into maternal deaths.

"Antenatal domestic violence has lead to various other problems such as postnatal violence, depression and child behavioural problems. It is therefore, essential that much -more is done to help women at an early stage and provide them the support they need to ensure baby's future health."

(Agencies)