Pregnant Women with Physical Disabilities: Almost an Invisible Population Making Research Nearly Impossible

Jun 22, 2011
Tagged with:

Pregnancy in women with any sort of physical disability is unfortunately uncharted territory. The reason for this is first of all, the research sample is very limited. They have to be women of child bearing age and the research, outcome, and treatment will be highly dependent upon the type of physical disability that the woman presents with.

So, any woman that has any sort of physical disability and plans to become pregnant must have doctors that are willing to come together in order to give the best treatment and care for both the mother and the unborn child before, during and after the baby is born.

For example, in cases involving multiple sclerosis (which currently has the most research in this area out of the most common types of physical disabilities) most research has shown that pregnancy will diminish or relieve relapsing-remitting MS during the mother’s pregnancy which becomes a relief for most women diagnosed with this condition.

However, research is showing that in about 30 percent of women diagnosed with MS will tend to have a flare-up of symptoms within a few months after giving birth and more often than not, the flare-up will be severe. For example, the woman in this article, “Physical Disabilities add Challenge to Pregnancies” was diagnosed with MS and during her first pregnancy all of her symptoms were reprieved. However, the woman became pregnant with her second child and soon thereafter was unable to walk or use the right side of her body until treated. Each pregnancy was a completely different experience for her, and unfortunately for the doctors as well. The entire pregnancy became a guessing game for proper treatment as well as the method the child would be born.

The good news for women with MS is that the research is constantly developing. It is believed that due to the hormone changes during pregnancy; women tend to have a relief of symptoms while pregnant, and sometimes even while breastfeeding, but will later likely experience a relapse within the following few months. There are still a lot more questions that need to be answered even in this population such as preterm birth, low birth weights, and C-sections.

Unfortunately, MS is not the only physical disability seen in women of child bearing age. There are a lot more women with other types of physical disabilities that are challenging cases for doctors. More than 1 million women of child bearing age have a physical disability such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injuries, or cerebral palsy. However, the research remains limited on how many of those women give birth each year. It is a continuing challenge to research this topic, and continues to be a struggle for women with a physical disability when considering pregnancy as well as for the doctors that care for these women.

Author: Jess

  • Jesshendriksen
  • Women Health Care

    it’s better if you take a proper take care of your pregnancy to get a health baby………

  • Marie Wall

    So, what do I do now?

  • Marie Wall

    I am looking for a little help with getting a Bath Tub. I have Osteoarthitis in my Knees, and I cannot get in or out of the Tub with out  lots of  pain, and the desperate fear of falling. I am 63 years old. I am on Adult Medicaid. I don’t know what to do, if you can’t help me. Maybe you could guide me to the right direction.  I have a Stationary Bike and I try to keep myself loose so my knees won’t lock up. I have had One Synvisc Injection. It help SO much for about 5 weeks. I am now eligible for another one on the 17th of this Month. I have to take powerful Pain Meds. when I get really bad. The Arthritis is getting into my Arms and Hands, also. My feet and ankles swell a lot every day. All I want to do is to take a bath. I know the Therapy would help my Pain. If you can’t help me, thats ok. I thank you anyway for litening to me. God Bless you, and God Bless America.  John 3:16    Marie Wall