Online Program

Pregnancy among US women with disabilities

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Willi Horner-Johnson, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Blair Darney, PhD, MPH, Oregon Health & Science University
Sheetal Kulkarni-Rajasekhara, MBBS, MPH, Institute on Development & Disability, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Aaron Caughey, MD, PhD, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Background:Approximately 12% of U.S. women of childbearing age have some type of disability. Prior research indicates that many women with disabilities want to have children. However, very little is known about the proportion of women with disabilities who experience pregnancy. Only one previous study has examined pregnancy prevalence in relation to disability, and it focused specifically on chronic physical disability and current pregnancy at the time of interview.

Methods: We analyzed 2008-2012 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to estimate the proportion of women ages 18-44 with and without hearing, vision, cognitive, or mobility disabilities who reported a pregnancy any time during their 2-year participation on the survey panel. We used multivariable logistic regression to test the association of pregnancy with presence, type, and complexity of disability, controlling for other factors associated with pregnancy.

Results:Similar proportions of women with and without disabilities reported a pregnancy (10.8% vs. 12.3% respectively, with overlapping confidence intervals). Women with the most complex disabilities (those that impact activities such as self-care and work) were less likely to have been pregnant (adjusted odds ratio=0.69, 95% CI=0.52-0.93), but women whose disabilities only affected basic actions (seeing, hearing, movement, cognition) did not differ significantly from women with no disabilities.

Conclusion: Women with a variety of types of disabilities experience pregnancy. Greater attention is needed to the reproductive healthcare needs of this population in order to ensure appropriate contraceptive, preconception, and perinatal care.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the proportion of women with disabilities who experience pregnancy. Discuss the importance of ensuring that the full range of reproductive healthcare services is available to all women, regardless of disability status.

Keyword(s): Disabilities, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have multiple years of experience studying the health of people with disabilities, and I am principal investigator of a federally funded grant on pregnancy prevalence and outcomes among women with disabilities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.