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Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 569–573 | Cite as

Foetal abuse

  • Paula Fernandez AriasEmail author
  • Keiko Yoshida
  • Ian F Brockington
  • Jennifer Kernreiter
  • Claudia M Klier
Review Article

Abstract

Pregnancy and motherhood are often presented as natural and unproblematic for women. The fact that there are some women who engage in violent behaviour towards their unborn child suggests that motherhood is not as unproblematic as we are led to believe. This paper presents six previously unpublished cases of foetal abuse that is physical assaults on the foetus by the mothers themselves, and examines how the prevailing myth of the good mother might be further endangering mothers and their unborn children. So far, the research suggests there are some common, possibly co-occurring, features that might be an antecedent to foetal abuse: unplanned pregnancies, prior mental health issues in the mother, trauma, pregnancy denial up to 20 weeks or until birth, and ideation of harm correlated to in utero movements.

Keywords

Foetal abuse Pregnancy Pregnancy denial Motherhood Neonaticide Childhood abuse 

Notes

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical standards

All results were derived from studies that had full approval by the appropriate ethics committee.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Fernandez Arias
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Keiko Yoshida
    • 3
  • Ian F Brockington
    • 4
  • Jennifer Kernreiter
    • 5
  • Claudia M Klier
    • 5
  1. 1.Society & Health Research Center (CISS)Universidad MayorSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Monash Deakin Filicide Research Hub, Department of Social WorkMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Iris Psychiatric ClinicFukuokaJapan
  4. 4.University of BirminghamBromyardUK
  5. 5.Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent MedicineMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria

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