Sexuality and Sexual Health 145
Many girls with disabilities grow up with no
information about sex or family planning. Yet most
women with disabilities can become pregnant—
even those with no feeling in the lower body.
So if you plan to have sex and do not want to
become pregnant, you will need to use a family
Here are some guidelines for deciding which family planning
method might be best for you:
If you have had a stroke, or cannot walk and you must sit
or lie down all the time, do not use hormonal methods, such
as birth control pills, injections, or implants. They can cause
problems with blood clots.
If you have no feeling or only a little feeling in your belly,
do not use an intra-uterine device (IUD). If it is not put in
correctly, or if there is a possibility you might get a sexually
transmitted infection, it can cause an infection. Without feeling
you may not be able to tell that you are infected.
If you cannot use your hands well, it may be difficult for
you to use barrier methods, such as the diaphragm, the female
condom, or foam. If you feel comfortable asking your partner,
he may be able to put them in for you.
If your disability changes over time, you may need to change
your family planning method as your disability progresses.
➤ Condoms not only
they keep you from
getting sick with STIs
Pregnancy and disability
A woman with a disability can become pregnant and have a healthy
baby. Here are some things to consider, especially if you cannot move
your body very much, or if you use a walking aid:
• As your belly gets larger, your balance changes. Some women
can use a stick or crutch to prevent falls. Some women may
want to use a wheelchair while pregnant.
• Since many pregnant women have trouble with hard stools
(constipation), you may need to do your ‘bowel program’ to
remove the stool more often (see page 372).
• During labor, you may not be able to feel the birth pains
(contractions). Instead, watch for the shape of your belly to change, and
use this to count the time between contractions.
• To prevent stiff joints (contractures) and to keep your muscles strong,
exercise as much as you can. Try to do the exercises on page 143.
• For more general information on pregnancy and birth, see page 67.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012