Tagged with: awareness disability health Healthcare Professionals parents research spinal cord injury
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.