Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 29–37 | Cite as

Symptoms Associated with Pregnancy Complications Along the Thai-Burma Border: The Role of Conflict Violence and Intimate Partner Violence

  • Kathryn L. FalbEmail author
  • Marie C. McCormick
  • David Hemenway
  • Katherine Anfinson
  • Jay G. Silverman


To assess the association between lifetime violence victimization and self-reported symptoms associated with pregnancy complications among women living in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. Cross-sectional survey of partnered women aged 15–49 years living in three refugee camps who reported a pregnancy that resulted in a live birth within the past 2 years with complete data (n = 337). Variables included the lifetime prevalence of any violence victimization, conflict victimization, intimate partner violence (IPV) victimization, self-reported symptoms of pregnancy complications, and demographic covariates. Logistic generalized estimating equations, accounting for camp-level clustering, were used to assess the relationships of interest. Approximately one in six women (16.0 %) reported symptoms related to pregnancy complications for their most recent birth within the last 2 years and 15 % experienced violence victimization. In multivariable analyses, any form of lifetime violence victimization was associated with 3.1 times heightened odds of reporting symptoms (95 % CI 1.8–5.2). In the final adjusted model, conflict victimization was associated with a 3.0 increase in odds of symptoms (95 % CI 2.4–3.7). However, lifetime IPV victimization was not associated with symptoms, after accounting for conflict victimization (aOR: 1.8; 95 % CI 0.4–9.0). Conflict victimization was strongly linked with heightened risk of self-reported symptoms associated with pregnancy complications among women in refugee camps along the Thai-Burma border. Future research and programs should consider the long-term impacts of conflict victimization in relation to maternal health to better meet the needs of refugee women.


Pregnancy complications Intimate partner violence Refugee Burma Maternal morbidity 



The authors are thankful to the American Refugee Committee, specifically Gary Dahl, Damarice Ager, Yoriko Jinno, Lara Hendy, and Catherine Carlson, and all the refugee staff, for survey leadership and implementation. Falb’s time was partially supported by MCHB grant 5T76 MC 00001(formerly MCJ201).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn L. Falb
    • 1
    Email author
  • Marie C. McCormick
    • 2
  • David Hemenway
    • 3
  • Katherine Anfinson
    • 4
  • Jay G. Silverman
    • 5
  1. 1.Chronic Disease EpidemiologyYale School of Public HealthNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Society, Human Development, and HealthHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Policy and ManagementHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  4. 4.American Refugee CommitteeMinnesotaUSA
  5. 5.Division of Global Public Health, Department of MedicineUniversity of California San Diego School of MedicineSan DiegoUSA

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