Perinatal issues for women with high functioning autism spectrum disorder

Rogers, Cath and Lepherd, Laurence and Ganguly, Rahul and Jacob-Rogers, Sebastian (2017) Perinatal issues for women with high functioning autism spectrum disorder. Women and Birth, 30 (2). ISSN 1871-5192


Problem: Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an increasingly commonly diagnosed disability. People with ASD commonly report challenges in social interaction and a heightened sensory perception. These challenges may be particularly difficult for women during pregnancy, birthing and beyond.

Background: Very little is known about the experiences and needs of birthing women who have ASD. There is a large body of literature about women who have autistic children, but almost nothing about women who may have this disability themselves. Internet blogs provide some insights and suggest that birthing women with ASD may have particular challenges related to communication, decision making and sensory overload.

Question: This study explores the particular issues and experiences of birthing women who have ASD, through pregnancy, birth and early mothering.

Method: This qualitative research used a case study approach, with in-depth interviewing and email exchange providing the data for the study. This data was verified, transcribed and analysed thematically.

Findings: The findings of this case study identified three key issues: communication and service difficulties; sensory stress and parenting challenges.

Discussion and conclusion: Findings suggest that women with ASD may face particular challenges during pregnancy, birthing and early mothering. These challenges evolve from perceptions of the woman about her midwives and other caregivers. If a woman perceives that her midwife is judgemental about her, then she may withdraw from the care and support she and her baby need.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online 14 Oct 2016. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Nursing and Midwifery
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2017 01:15
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2018 03:03
Uncontrolled Keywords: autism spectrum disorder; Asperger’s syndrome; women; perinatal; parenting; sensory
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111707 Family Care
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1110 Nursing > 111006 Midwifery
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.wombi.2016.09.009

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