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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2015 Feb;94(2):133-40. doi: 10.1111/aogs.12544. Epub 2014 Dec 25.

Effects of disability on pregnancy experiences among women with impaired mobility.

Author information

1
Mongan Institute for Health Policy, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA; Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Little is known about how functional impairments might affect the pregnancies of women with mobility disability. We aimed to explore complications that arise during pregnancy that are specifically related to physical functional impairments of women with significant mobility disabilities.

DESIGN:

Qualitative descriptive analysis.

SETTING:

Telephone interviews with women from 17 USA states.

SAMPLE:

22 women with significant mobility difficulties who had delivered babies within the prior 10 years; most participants were recruited through social networks.

METHODS:

We conducted 2-h, in-depth telephone interviews using a semi-structured, open-ended interview protocol. We used NVIVO software to sort interview transcript texts for conventional content analyses.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Functional impairment-related complications during pregnancy.

RESULTS:

The women's mean (standard deviation) age was 34.8 (5.3) years. Most were white, well-educated, and higher income; eight women had spinal cord injuries, four cerebral palsy, and 10 had other conditions; 18 used wheeled mobility aids; and 14 had cesarean deliveries (eight elective). Impairment-related complications during pregnancy included: falls; urinary tract and bladder problems; wheelchair fit and stability problems that reduced mobility and compromised safety; significant shortness of breath, sometimes requiring respiratory support; increased spasticity; bowel management difficulties; and skin integrity problems (this was rare, but many women greatly increased skin monitoring during pregnancy to prevent pressure ulcers).

CONCLUSIONS:

In addition to other pregnancy-associated health risks, women with mobility disabilities appear to experience problems relating to their functional impairments. Pre-conception planning and in-depth discussions during early pregnancy could potentially assist women with mobility disabilities to anticipate and address these difficulties.

KEYWORDS:

Pregnancy; disability; falls; functional impairment; pressure ulcers; respiratory support; spasticity; wheelchair

PMID:
25417861
PMCID:
PMC4803279
DOI:
10.1111/aogs.12544
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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