Optimum care for disabled women
This summer, as the Paralympics GB team soared to success with 147 medals in Rio, a report (Hall et al, 2016) was published which highlights that there is a long way to go in improving attitudes towards disability in the UK, including in maternity services.
Bournemouth University and human rights in childbirth charity Birthrights published the interim report of a study looking into the treatment of disabled women during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period (Hall et al, 2016). The report analyses data from a survey of 37 women who identified as disabled, with disabilities including hearing impairments, visual impairments, physical/mobility-related impairments and long-term health conditions.
The key problems reported by disabled women regarding their maternity care were:
Some of these problems are common to many childbearing women; for example, the National Maternity Review (2016) highlighted the need for continuity of carer in maternity services across England. However, there are some disability-specific concerns that must be addressed if we are to ensure that disabled women receive optimum care during their pregnancy and childbirth experience.
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