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How Exposure to Domestic Violence Affects Infants

 

Narrator: This is Science Today. The emotional turmoil of domestic violence affects everyone in the household, including infants.

Lieberman: Babies who were exposed to violence have difficulties eating, sleeping, gaining weight, learning - that can thwart their developmental course in very dramatic ways.

Narrator: Alicia Lieberman, director of the Child Trauma Research Project at the University of California, San Francisco says this is true even during gestation.

Lieberman: We are now working with pregnant women and finding that babies born to women who have been battered have a higher rate of perinatal complications - low birth weight; premature birth; perinatal complications during delivery; difficulty being soothed.

Narrator: This leads to behavioral problems later on, so Lieberman has designed successful interventions for preschoolers, which focuses on establishing loving relationships between the kids and their mothers. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.