The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Health Needs and Barriers to Perinatal Care for Women with Mobility Disabilities (National Institutes of Health)

Using population-based data from the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) and the Massachusetts-Pregnancy to Early Life Longitudinal  (PELL) system, we are studying differences in health care utilization and outcomes for women with and without disabilities throughout pregnancy. To supplement this data, we conducted individual interviews with mothers with physical disabilities to understand their unmet needs and barriers to perinatal care. We also conducted individual interviews with obstetric clinicians to understand unmet needs from the provider perspective.

The first objective of this study is to examine access to perinatal care and explore differences in pregnancy-related experiences for women with disabilities compared to women without disabilities. This study will rely on data from two population-based data sets: the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) datasets and the Massachusetts PRAMS-Pregnancy to Early Life Longitudinal linked dataset (PRAMS-PELL). The second objective, which we divide into two parts, is to examine unmet needs and barriers to perinatal care for women with mobility disabilities and compare these unmet needs to those of other women. We are addressing two primary research questions: (a) Are there disparities in access to perinatal health care for women with disabilities? and (b) What unmet needs, if any, do women with mobility disabilities experience? Based on the existing studies of pregnancy among women with disabilities, we hypothesize that, compared with other women, women with mobility disabilities have greater unmet needs for perinatal care.  The third objective of the study is to develop recommendations for perinatal care for women with mobility disabilities. Our research question is: 1) What policies and practices would encourage high quality care for women with mobility disabilities? Our hypotheses with regard to this question will be based upon the findings derived as part of the research. We are also interviewing 20 obstetricians/gynecologists and certified nurse midwives recognized for providing high quality, comprehensive prenatal care to women with physical disabilities.  

Grant Number: #5R01HD74581-03

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