Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Intimate partner violence and use of reproductive health services among married women: evidence from a national Bangladeshi sample

Mosiur Rahman1, Keiko Nakamura1*, Kaoruko Seino1 and Masashi Kizuki2

Author Affiliations

1 International Health Section, Division of Public Health, Graduate School of Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Yushima 1-5-45, Bunkyo, Tokyo, 113-8519, Japan

2 Health Promotion, Division of Public Health, Graduate School of Tokyo Medical and Dental University, Tokyo, Japan

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:913  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-913

Published: 29 October 2012



Data from a statewide survey in India and clinic-based studies in developed settings have previously suggested an association between maternal physical intimate partner violence (IPV) experiences and the low use of antenatal care (ANC). This study aimed to explore the association between maternal experiences of physical and sexual IPV and the use of reproductive health care services, using a large nationally representative data set from Bangladesh.


This paper used data from the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic Health Survey. The analyses were based on the responses of 2001currently married women living with at least one child younger than 5 years. Exposure was determined from maternal reports of physical and sexual IPV. The utilization of ANC according to amount and type of provider and utilization of delivery assistance according to provider type were used as proxy outcome variables for reproductive health care utilization. Descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression analysis used in the study.


Approximately two out of four (48.2%) respondents had experienced physical IPV. Maternal experience of physical IPV was associated with low use of receiving sufficient ANC (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.49–0.96), lower likelihood of receiving ANC (AOR 0.69; 95% CI 0.53–0.89), and assisted deliveries from skilled provider (AOR 0.54; 95% CI 0.37–0.78). Women who had been sexually abused were significantly less likely to have visited a skilled ANC and delivery care provider. Furthermore, severity of physical IPV appeared to have more profound consequences on the outcome measured.


The association between exposure to IPV and use of reproductive health care services suggests that partner violence plays a significant role in lower utilization of reproductive health services among women in Bangladesh. Our findings suggest that, in addition to a wide range of socio-demographic factors, preventing maternal physical and sexual IPV need to be considered as an important psychosocial determinates for the higher utilization of reproductive health care services in Bangladesh.

Antenatal care; Delivery assistance; Medical professional; Intimate partner violence; Bangladesh