I'm pregnant. My boyfriend doesn't treat me very well, and I'm worried it might be bad for my baby. How can I get out of an abusive relationship?
Abuse — physical, sexual, or emotional — is never OK. You need to get out of the relationship for your sake and your baby's. Abuse of any kind during pregnancy can lead to a miscarriage, early (preterm) labor, or other health problems for you and your baby.
Here are some steps to take:
- Start by talking to someone you trust, maybe a family member, trusted friend, doctor, nurse, counselor, teacher, or faith leader. Telephone and online directories list local abuse and family violence hotline numbers that you can call for help. Or call the National Domestic Violence hotline at (800) 799-SAFE (7233).
- If your partner has physically hurt you, don't wait. See a doctor or go to a hospital emergency room right away to get the care you need. If it's not safe for you in your home, find a safe place to go. Stay with a relative or friend, find a shelter for battered women, or contact an abuse hotline for help.
- Have a back-up plan. Gather some cash and important documents — your passport, Social Security card, credit cards, bank account information — and stash them in a safe place. Then pack a suitcase with toiletries, extra clothes, and spare house and car keys and leave it at a friend's or relative's house. This way you'll be prepared if you have to quickly get away from your partner.
Leaving someone you have a past with is a hard thing to do. But now is the time to put the health and safety of you and your baby first.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: 02/01/2017