“I realised that as a midwife I must have encountered many of these women in my work and that I neither had the knowledge nor the readiness to deal with them,” she says.
This is one of the reasons Finnbogadóttir chose to focus her research on violence – both physical and mental – against pregnant women.
Slow or difficult labour i.e. labour dystocia has a major negative impact on birth outcomes and include the reason behind half of all unplanned cesarean. Finnbogadóttir has investigated to what extent experience of violence affects a woman’s labour. The study, in which 2,652 first-time mothers were included, showed that those women who had experienced violence and consumed alcohol during late pregnancy had higher risk of having the diagnosis, labour dystocia. However, Finnbogadóttir found no connection between the experience of violence and labour dystocia at full term. To quote Finnbogadóttir “We need more studies in this field”. Recently, a study from Iran showed an association between experienced abuse from their partner / spouse and labour dystocia.
“Midwives need both updated knowledge and tools with regard to abused pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence. Midwives feel that they lack support and feel that they are betraying both the women and the unborn child,” says Finnbogadóttir.
She now hopes that her research will bring attention to the problem and will motivate the maternity care in southern Sweden to create procedures to identify domestic violence. There is a need for guidelines, a plan of action and a care plan. And further continuous training and support in the area for the midwives