Pictured above: Dr. Yona Lunsky
Pregnancy rates for women with disabilities in Ontario have risen in the past 15 years according to a new study by ICES, the University of Toronto, and CAMH.
While pregnancy rates decreased slightly among women without disabilities during that time period, the proportion of pregnancies that were to women with a disability increased from 8.5 per cent to 13 per cent.
In particular, the study that was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, noted a high rate of pregnancy among 15 to 19-year-olds with developmental disabilities compared to the rate for those without disabilities in the same age group.
“Our findings counter assumptions that pregnancy rarely occurs in women with disabilities,” said lead author, Dr. Hilary Brown, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. “Higher pregnancy rates in adolescents with certain disabilities, including developmental disabilities, speak to the need for better access to sexual health education and contraception.”
Co-author Dr. Yona Lunsky, Director of the Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre at CAMH, noted, “We know that women with disabilities encounter multiple barriers when it comes to accessing reproductive healthcare services, including providers who are reluctant to discuss their reproductive health.”
To access the full study, click here.