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Reproductive Health and Disability

Every minute, more than 30 women are seriously injured or disabled during labor, thus rendering vast numbers of women in the developing world physically and socially disabled. For every woman who dies from complications of pregnancy, between 30 and 100 more live with painful and debilitating consequences.  However, those 15 – 50 million women generally go unnoticed.


Broad-based RH for all women can ensure that preventable disability arising from complications of labor and pregnancy are averted. Maternal education during the antenatal period has also been shown to have positive links with children’s immunization and care, thus, preventing disability in the newborn.


Disability disproportionately affects the poor.  Hoogeveen (2003) demonstrates through his analysis of Ugandan data that poverty rates among households where the head is disabled are higher than among those with a non-disabled head.


Disability is both a cause and a consequence of poor reproductive health

While it is widely believed that women with disabilities are neither sexually active nor capable for bearing children, in fact, the majority of them are both sexually active and capable of pregnancy and childbirth, and thus have reproductive health needs. Fertility rates have been examined in only few types of disabilities, but where such evidence exists, the results indicate that these rates are similar to rates for women without disabilities.


Social Protection website on Reproductive Health and Disability




Reproductive health care experiences of women with physical disabilities: a qualitative study.  Becker H, Stuifbergen A, Tinkle M.


Center for Research on Women with Disabilities


A statement by African Women With Disabilities with regard to the Situation of Women and Children with disabilities, HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health.


Women with Disabilities - CDC resources and links


Improving the Health and wellness of Women with Disabilities: A symposium to establish a research agenda


Developing the gender dimension of India’s disability rights movement;By Sakshi Broota Hosamane


Promoting Full Participation of Women with Disabilities in the Process of Elaboration on an International Convention to Promote and Protect the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.


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