c h apter 10
Deciding to have a baby
Getting pregnant is a personal decision, and every woman should have the right
to decide for herself if and when she wants to become a mother. But all over the
world, women are often pressured by their partners, families and communities to
have children, often as many children as possible.
For women with disabilities, however, the opposite is most often true. They are
encouraged not to get pregnant. Many disabled women are sterilized against their
will, so they can never get pregnant. Others who do get pregnant are pressured to
have abortions, even where abortions are illegal. This happens because people often
believe a woman with a disability cannot be a good mother, or that babies born to
her will also be disabled. These ideas are wrong.
There is no reason why most women with disabilities cannot have a safe
pregnancy, give birth to a healthy baby, and be a good mother (see Chapter 12).
However, there are precautions women with some disabilities must take when they
are pregnant, and some women will need more assistance than others.
This chapter has information that will help you understand some of the changes
that can happen during pregnancy, how they may affect different disabilities, and
how to plan for a safe pregnancy and birth.