OBJECTIVES:To investigate the prevalence of four forms of intimate partner violence during pregnancy in Rwandan women, associated sociodemographic and psychosocial factors and relationship to antenatal care service usage. DESIGN:This was a cross-sectional population-based study conducted in the Northern province of Rwanda and in Kigali city. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTINGS:A total of 921 women who gave birth within the past 13 months were included. Villages in the study area were selected using a multistage random sampling technique and community health workers helped in identifying eligible participants. Clinical psychologists, nurses or midwives carried out face-to-face interviews using a structured questionnaire. Bivariable and multivariable logistic regression were used to assess associations. RESULTS:The prevalence rates of physical, sexual, psychological violence and controlling behaviour during pregnancy were 10.2% (95% CI 8.3 to 12.2), 9.7% (95% CI 7.8 to 11.6), 17.0% (95% CI 14.6 to 19.4) and 20.0% (95% CI 17.4 to 22.6), respectively. Usage of antenatal care services was less common among women who reported controlling behaviour (OR) 1.93 (95% CI 1.34 to 2.79). No statistically significant associations between physical, psychological and sexual violence and antenatal care usage were found. Low socioeconomic status was associated with physical violence exposure (OR) 2.27 (95% CI 1.29 to 3.98). Also, young age, living in urban areas and poor social support were statistically significant in their associations with violence exposure during pregnancy. CONCLUSIONS:Intimate partner violence inquiry should be included in the standard antenatal care services package and professionals should be trained in giving support, advice and care to those exposed. Gender-based violence is criminalised behaviour in Rwanda; existing policies and laws must be followed and awareness raised in society for preventive purposes.