Murder A Leading Cause Of Death For Pregnant Women

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Studies show expecting mothers are more likely to die from murder than a pregnancy-related problem.

A Fort Smith man is in jail, accused of killing his pregnant girlfriend. (Read more about that case)

Jennifer Hallum is the Crisis Intervention Center executive director in Fort Smith.

Hallum said nationally, one in four women will experience domestic violence.

"In Arkansas, actually, the ratio is a little bit higher. It's one in three," Hallum said.

The executive director said the causes for the statistics are often stress-related.

"The vulnerability of the situation obviously a pregnancy can bring more stress into a home environment," Hallum said.

Experts say there are certain warning signs abuse victims can look out for. Hallum said friends and family can also help watch for these signs.

"Obviously, control how the other person is dealing with stress. Often time, stress triggers problems with control, but probably most would be isolation," Hallum said.

Studies show that three women are murdered out of every 100,000 women who are pregnant or have a child less than one year old.

Two out of every 100,000 women in that group kill themselves.

"Our mission statement is to break the silence; stop the violence," Hallum said.

It is a mission that Hallum hopes to accomplish so women in a difficult situation can know they have options, and help is available.