Hall J, Collins B, Ireland J, Hundley V Interim report: The Human Rights & Dignity Experience of Disabled Women during Pregnancy, Childbirth and Early Parenting.Bournemouth: Centre for Midwifery Maternal and Perinatal Health, Bournemouth University; 2016

National Maternity Review. Better Births: Improving outcomes of maternity services in England. A Five Year Forward View for maternity care. 2016. (accessed 19 September 2016)

Optimum care for disabled women

02 October 2016
Volume 24 · Issue 10

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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