Planning your pregnancy and birth 213
Planning your pregnancy and birth
Around the world, most women give
birth at home with the help of a local
midwife. These births can be safe
and healthy for both the mother and
the baby, especially if the midwife
is experienced. For women with
disabilities, care during pregnancy and
birth with a midwife is also usually safe
and healthy. But even if the midwife is
skilled, there are times when women and
babies need hospital care.
Some women with disabilities who
have a greater risk of complications need medical care that is usually only provided
in a hospital. For example, if you:
• have a disability that prevents you from opening your legs wide such as
cerebral palsy, rheumatoid arthritis, or severe muscle spasms. During the birth,
you will need to keep your legs open wide for 2 to 3 hours, either by yourself, or
with someone’s help, or you may need to deliver the baby through an operation.
• are a woman of short stature (dwarf). The bones in your pelvis may not be wide
enough for the baby to come out safely without an operation. Also, because you
have less blood in your body, you may need a blood transfusion, depending on
how much you bleed during childbirth.
• have a high spinal cord injury (T6 and above) you are at risk for getting
dysreflexia, a deadly high blood pressure (see pages 117 to 119).
While you are trying
to get pregnant
To make sure you and your baby will
be as healthy as possible, eat regularly
and try to eat a variety of healthy food,
especially the foods that can help
prevent birth defects (see pages 86 and
216). Healthy habits like eating good
foods, not smoking, and avoiding
drugs and alcohol are important
because many problems start early in
pregnancy—before you even realize
you are pregnant.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007