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Improving outcomes for pregnant women with disability and their families

Principal investigator
Jenny Kurinczuk (NPEU)
Crispin Jenkinson (University of Oxford)
Disability, Socioeconomic and ethnic inequalities, Women's experience of maternity care
DH - Policy Research Programme
Start year
End year
NPEU Contact
Jenny Kurinczuk


The aim of this work programme is to help improve health outcomes for women with disability by (a) providing some estimates of the number of disabled women using maternity services in England, along with data on their characteristics, experiences of the healthcare system and outcomes; (b) conducting a systematic review on effectiveness of interventions to improve outcomes for disabled women and their families; (c) conducting a qualitative study to examine in detail the experiences of maternity services for women with learning disability.

The specific objectives address the following research questions:

  1. What proportion of women giving birth in England are disabled?
  2. Which particular disabilities are commonest?
  3. To what extent is disability associated with other disadvantage in pregnant women? For example are there associations with poverty, domestic abuse, substance misuse living in areas with poor amenities and high crime?
  4. Are there any particular (groups of) disabilities which are associated with either particularly poor birth outcomes or with patient safety issues (involving communication problems for example)?
  5. How do disabled women compare with those not disabled on the following: Pregnancy outcome, mental health during pregnancy and the postnatal period, accessibility of services, information needs being met by clinicians, empowerment, involvement in decision making, inclusive, positive attitudes from staff, quality and choice of services.
  6. Which health service interventions are effective in improving outcomes in disabled pregnant women and their families?

The work commenced with an analysis of data from the Millennium Cohort Study mothers and a systematic review of the effectiveness of health service interventions to improve outcome in this group as well as an analysis of data from the National Maternity Survey 2010.We are now going on to start a qualitative study in women with learning disability.


Journal Articles