Women with disabilities sometimes experience barriers when it comes to routine screening and wellness exams. These barriers include problems in accessing health care and the lack of providers who are informed about health in the context of disabilities.
The Center for Research on Women with Disabilities (CROWD), reports that women with disabilities are often denied reproductive and other types of health care, or given substandard care compared to women with uncomplicated health care needs. Several studies have documented the lack of health insurance among women with disabilities.
A Providers Guide for the Care of Women with Physical Disabilities and Chronic Medical Conditions (PDF)
The guide is designed for clinicians to improve their knowledge and practice in providing care to women with physical disabilities and chronic health conditions. It includes information on access to general medical care, removing common barriers, comprehensive reproductive health care and health promotion and wellness.
Pregnancy and Parenting
Many women with cerebral palsy and other disabilities have had healthy and successful pregnancies. However, just as with any pregnancy, the mother with a disability will require regular monitoring by a specialist to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing as planned and the baby is doing well. The abilities and resources that the mother with a disability has are the best determinants of how well she will be able to take care of the child after delivery.
The following Web sites offer information about pregnancy and parenting with a disability:
Through the Looking Glass: National Center for Parents with Disabilities
The National Center empowers parents and potential parents with disabilities by disseminating disability-appropriate information regarding parenting to parents, disability advocates, and legal, medical, intervention and social services providers. Their overall goal is to increase information and support more disability-appropriate resources for parents with disabilities and their children throughout the U.S.
Violence Against Women
Research suggests that women with disabilities are more likely to experience domestic violence, emotional abuse, and sexual assault than women without disabilities. Women with disabilities may also feel more isolated and feel they are unable to report the abuse, or they may be dependent on the abuser for their care. Like many women who are abused, women with disabilities are usually abused by someone they know, such as a partner or family member.
Violence Against Women with Disabilities
Resources from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health.
Other Helpful Resources
Breast Cancer Screening: The Right to Know Campaign
Health promotion materials from the CDC designed to increase awareness of breast cancer among women with physical disabilities and encourage these women to get screened.