While women with physical disabilities are becoming pregnant at roughly the same rate as non-disabled women (Iezzoni et al., 2013; Horner-Johnson et al., 2016), we still do not a great deal about how they experience pregnancy, labour/delivery, and early motherhood, including breastfeeding. This is especially true in Ontario and Canada more broadly. Unfortunately, research indicates that many women with physical disabilities experience significant perinatal health disparities. Notably, women with physical disabilities report interactions with perinatal care providers who have limited understanding of disability and they experience high rates of caesarean delivery and preterm birth (Signore et al., 2011; Mitra et al., 2015; Tarasoff, 2017).
A qualitative dissertation study was conducted to learn more about how women with physical disabilities in Ontario experience the perinatal period and early motherhood. From November 2014 to November 2015, thirteen women with physical disabilities who had given birth in the last five years were interviewed.
This report shares key findings from that study, including findings regarding perinatal care experiences and outcomes, as well as provides recommendations to better support pregnant and parenting women with physical disabilities.
This report is intended to be read by women with physical disabilities who wish to become mothers, their partners and other support persons, community organizations serving people with disabilities, perinatal health and social service providers, and researchers interested in the perinatal and motherhood experiences of women with physical disabilities.
For more information about this study or to access an online version of the attached report, please visit https://latarasoff.com/doctoral-research/