Presentation Information

Lesley A. Tarasoff

Caring for Clients With Disabilities in the Perinatal Period

Abstract:

Women with physical, sensory, and intellectual/developmental disabilities experience significant social, health, and health care disparities. Recent data show that their pregnancy rates are increasing. However, little is known about the perinatal health outcomes and care experiences of women with disabilities. In this presentation, I will provide an overview of research concerning the perinatal health outcomes and care experiences of women with disabilities, specifically highlighting findings from a National Institutes of Health-funded study conducted in Ontario, Canada.

From population-based health records data, we found that women with disabilities experience higher rates of perinatal health complications than women without disabilities. From interviews with women with disabilities and health and social service providers, including midwives, we identified barriers to optimal perinatal care for women with disabilities, including failures to meet accessibility and communication needs, with particular gaps in care identified in the postpartum period. This presentation will conclude with a discussion of implications for midwifery practice, identifying ways in which the midwifery model of care may best address the challenges experienced by women with disabilities during pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum period; these include longer appointment times, the ongoing process of informed consent, home visits, and extended support in the postpartum period.

Live Presentation Schedule

Feb 22, 2023