About 10 per cent of women polled in a medical study said they had been abused while pregnant. The study of 838 mothers carried out between October 2000 and February last year by the University of Hong Kong found about one in six had suffered domestic violence. The women were asked to complete questionnaires within six weeks of giving birth at Tsan Yuk Hospital in Sai Ying Poon. The findings showed 16.6 per cent of the women had been abused. In 95 per cent of cases the abuse was verbal and emotional, said Leung Wing-cheung, an assistant professor of the university's department of obstetrics and gynaecology, who headed the study. The remaining five per cent involved sexual and physical abuse. About 27 per cent of abusers were husbands or boyfriends, while mothers-in-law accounted for 27 per cent. Other abusers included family members and friends. Dr Leung warned that abuse of women during pregnancy doubled the risk of post-natal depression - an illness that strikes more than one in seven Hong Kong women. The rate of general abuse is comparable to that suffered by women in other countries, according to Dr Leung. Dr Leung Tsin-wah, another member of the research team, said although the rate of Hong Kong's physical or sexual violence was considered low, she believed the figures showed only the 'tip of the iceberg' as many people were reluctant to disclose family problems. She also said the findings showed unplanned pregnancies and financial hardship doubled the risk of domestic violence, but that abuse could happen in all social classes. A separate study by the university last year showed husbands and boyfriends also fell victim to domestic violence, according to nursing professor Agnes Tiwari Fang-yee. The study of 100 men indicated that nearly 13 per cent of husbands or boyfriends said they had been abused - mostly verbal and emotional abuse. About one per cent of the men reported having experienced sexual abuse.