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Access to Maternity Services for Women With a Physical Disability: A Systematic Review of the Literature

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BACKGROUND: Women with a disability are one of the most disadvantaged groups in society.

OBJECTIVE: To identify challenges and facilitators to accessing maternity services experienced by women with a physical disability during pregnancy, childbirth, and early motherhood.

DESIGN: Literature review.

FINDINGS: Challenges to accessibility included location and models of care, transport difficulties, and moving around the environment. Challenges to accommodation (health professionals' adaptation to women's needs) centered on lack of suitable health and parent education information. Challenges to acceptability were caused by poor knowledge and negative staff attitudes.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Improving access to maternity services for women with a disability requires improved access to buildings, provision of sensitive antenatal classes, and development of health professionals' knowledge and attitudes toward disability and pregnancy.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/2156-5287.3.4.203

Publication date: December 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Childbirth is a peer-reviewed, quarterly journal publishing original research, reviews, and case studies concerned with the practice of midwifery, women's health, prenatal care, and the birth process. The journal encourages the exploration of the complex and contextual issues surrounding childbirth provision and outcomes and invites manuscripts from a wide range of clinical, theoretical, political, methodological, psychological, public health, policy, and multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives.
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