Pregnancy among women with physical disabilities: Unmet needs and recommendations on navigating pregnancy

Friday, July 1, 2016
Cover of Disability and Health Journal
Linda Long-Bellil, PhD, JD
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Monika Mitra, PhD
Brandeis University
Suzanne C. Smeltzer, EdD, RN, FAAN
Villanova University
Lisa I Iezzoni, MD, MSc
Massachusetts General Hospital
Lauren D. Smith, MPH
Brandeis University

Twenty-five women with physical disabilities across the U.S. who had had a baby in the past 10 years were interviewed for this study. The results shed light on the unmet needs and barriers to the care of women with mobility disabilities during pregnancy and childbirth, including physicians' knowledge and attitudes, and accessibility to health care facilities and equipment. The study findings highlight the need for policy and practice recommendations for perinatal care of women with mobility disabilities. Researchers said clinicians should be provided with the education necessary to prepare them to care for these women and strategies should be developed for the dissemination of information on pregnancy and disability, including perinatal care, to women with physical disabilities who are pregnant or considering pregnancy.