This is a double pronged issue. There are concerns with women of disability during pregnancy and with giving birth to a child with disability. That first issue is best tackled through two case studies;
WWC heard from one deaf lady the tale of her pregnancy. The woman was enjoying a normal and healthy pregnancy, however, she found it hard trying to interact with the health professionals because they couldn’t communicate with her, and so the lady did become disconnected from medical help. She also said that when the labour did arrive the midwives were particularly unhelpful and actually rude. There were some complications with the birth and a small medical procedure did have to be carried out, the lady was however unsure of what was happening all the while. WCC have been involved in training nurses in sign language, but there is still work to be done.
At the Network of African Women with Disability conference Grace told us about a tragic incident involving a woman with Albinism. Again the lady had enjoyed a normal pregnancy and in this case a straightforward labour. She was delivered of a child with normal levels of melanin. Elsewhere in the hospital a black woman had a child with albinism. The midwives tried to switch these children not grasping the genetics of the situation where is normal and possible for a parents with albinism to have coloured children, the same is true otherwise.
What is clear is that we need further education and awareness about reproductive health and disability, something which WCC is trying to do.
Yet birth involves two parties, mother and child, and we need to be aware of the issues around a disabled baby. It is often the case that a disability may not become apparent immediately or may develop over time. There is a need if your baby is showing signs of a disability to contact your medical officer and talk to them. However, the most important thing to do is love your child and support your child. WCC can help you.