Caring for mothers: A narrative review on interpersonal violence and peripartum mental health

Marianna Mazza, Emanuele Caroppo, Giuseppe Marano, Daniela Chieffo, Lorenzo Moccia, Delfina Janiri, Lucio Rinaldi, Luigi Janiri, Gabriele Sani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Interpersonal violence in the perinatal period is frequent and should be considered a prominent health issue due to the risk of escalation of violence and the significant impact on mothers’ parenting after childbirth. Domestic violence during pregnancy can be associated with fatal and non-fatal adverse health outcomes due to the direct trauma to a pregnant woman’s body and to the effect of stress on fetal growth and development. Emotional violence is a risk factor for prenatal and/or postpartum depression. Recent studies focusing on abusive situations during peripartum and possible preventive strategies were identified in PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Embase, and Sci-enceDirect. All of the available literature was retrospectively reviewed with a special attention to peer-reviewed publications from the last ten years. Results of the present narrative review suggest that perinatal health care professionals (general practitioners, gynecologists, obstetricians, psycholo-gists, psychiatrists) should promptly detect interpersonal violence during and after pregnancy and provide health care for pregnant women. It seems pivotal to guarantee psychological care for abused women before, during, and after pregnancy in order to prevent the risk of depressive symptoms, other mental or physical sequelae, and mother-to-infant bonding failure. There is an urgent need for multifaceted interventions: programs should focus on several risk factors and should design tailored care pathways fitted to the specific needs of women and finalized to support them across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5281
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2 2021


  • Depression
  • Perinatal women
  • Personalized medicine
  • Postpartum
  • Pregnancy
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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