Disability and Pregnancy

Nearly one in eight pregnancies in Ontario are to people with a disability; however, pregnancy care is not often structured to address their needs. In 2022, PCMCH collaborated with researchers from the University of Toronto to develop evidence-based resources to support healthy pregnancies, birthing experiences and postpartum outcomes for people with disabilities. These resources were informed by studies conducted by an international team of researchers and in partnership with a dedicated Advisory Committee comprised of individuals with lived experience, health and social service providers, and policymakers. The studies included health data from 200,205 women with disabilities and 1.6 million women without disabilities with births in Ontario, as well as interviews with 31 women with disabilities and 31 healthcare service providers and administrators.

The following three resources contain information tailored for healthcare administrators, healthcare providers and people with disabilities who are planning a pregnancy, pregnant or recently postpartum. Each describes potential barriers to pregnancy care and complications, as well as providing recommendations and other resources that can help administrators, healthcare providers and parents with disabilities address health challenges, as well as social and system barriers to achieve and maintain healthy pregnancies and postpartum health.

PCMCH is committed to fostering equity, diversity and inclusion within the perinatal healthcare system, and developed these resources with the intention that they will further health equity for people with disabilities.

Resources

Webinar

Creating an Accessible Care Environment for Individuals with Disabilities During Pregnancy and Birth

Presented on Dec. 15, 2023, this webinar shares an individual's lived experience of pregnancy and childbirth while concurrently having a physical disability, reviews systemic healthcare barriers, and identifies care needs for pregnant individuals and families living with a physical disability. This webinar also examines the model of care and key components of an interprofessional, family-centered care team approach used in a dedicated antenatal clinic, and describes how to apply aspects of care to one's own practice in order to enhance the quality of care for pregnant individuals living with physical disabilities.

Speakers

Diana Drake: Bachelor of Physical Education; Bachelor of Education; Devoted new Mom; Advocate for the Disability Community; Dr. Anne Berndl: Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist; Director of the Accessible Care Pregnancy Clinic, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Elizabeth Jung: Advanced Practice Nurse, Accessible Care Pregnancy Clinic, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre