Fetal abuse

Lindsey Kent, J D D Laidlaw, I F Brockington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The possible occurrence of fetal abuse in expectant mothers has received little attention in either clinical practice or in research. Five cases with reported fetal abuse are presented. Each case suffered from depression and four of the five women had unplanned pregnancies and had considered a termination of pregnancy. Other possible factors associated with fetal abuse included: denial of the pregnancy, ambivalence towards the pregnancy, previous postpartum depression, and relationship difficulties. Enquiry of possible fetal abuse in pregnant women should be made, particularly if a depressive illness is demonstrated. The relationship between fetal abuse and subsequent child abuse remains unclear. Copyright (C) 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1997


  • fetal abuse
  • depression
  • pregnancy
  • child abuse


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