Battering and violent behaviours on pregnant women: a hidden aspect of the gender-based violence - In the broader context of the serious phenomenon of domestic violence, the paper starts examining a problem that hasn’t received much attention in literature, namely violence experienced during pregnancy. Incidence of violences during pregnancy according to international statistics are refered to and some recent cases, that happened in Italy, of pregnant women battered and/or killed by their partners are reported. Authors discuss risk factors for having experience with violence during pregnancy and the consequences of violence on maternal and infant health, and also the psychological consequences of "assisting violence" on elderly children. Finally a few hypothesis found in literature to explain comprehensively the phenomenon of gender violence are mentioned. Key words: domestic violence, violence in pregnancy, risk factors, sexual coercion, maternal mortality, infant health.