Women with Intellectual and Developmental Challenges are Twice as likely to have rapid, repeat pregnancy

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A new study, which was supported by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, shows that women with developmental and intellectual challenges are twice more prone to giving birth to another baby within one year of having had one pregnancy, compared to those without such disabilities. The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal and was conducted by researchers from the University of Toronto.

Possible complications

According to Hilary Brown, the lead author of the study, these findings pose some great concern, as rapid, repeat pregnancies are linked to a higher risk of complications, such as premature birth and stillbirth. Analyzing Ontario health and social services records, Brown, together with her team, concluded that 7.6% of women with developmental and intellectual challenges had had another delivery within one year of giving birth, compared to only 3.6% of women who do not have such challenges.

Not enough access to the healthcare system

In Brown’s opinion, who is an expert on reproductive health as well as maternal and child health, women that have these challenges might face bigger problems because they are more likely to be young, disadvantaged and have poor access to health care, which in turn leads to having difficulties advocating for contraception.

A significant finding of this study was that the risk of having a rapid, repeat pregnancy decreases dramatically when women have improved economic conditions and better access to health care. Therefore, not only having more access to contraception plays an important role in changing the situation of this group, but also addressing the socio-economic challenges for these women, as Brown has mentioned. According to the researcher, health and social service providers should offer more attention to these women with intellectual and developmental challenges.

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.