Perinatal issues for women with high functioning autism spectrum disorder

Rogers, Cath, Lepherd, Laurence, Ganguly, Rahul and Jacob-Rogers, Sebastian (2016) Perinatal issues for women with high functioning autism spectrum disorder. Women and Birth, 30 2: E89-E95. doi:10.1016/j.wombi.2016.09.009


Author Rogers, Cath
Lepherd, Laurence
Ganguly, Rahul
Jacob-Rogers, Sebastian
Title Perinatal issues for women with high functioning autism spectrum disorder
Journal name Women and Birth   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1871-5192
1878-1799
Publication date 2016-10-14
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.wombi.2016.09.009
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 30
Issue 2
Start page E89
End page E95
Total pages 7
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Abstract 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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.
Formatted abstract
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.
Keyword ASD (autism spectrum disorder)
Autism spectrum
Perinatal issues
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 14 October 2016. Article in Press

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
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Created: Mon, 17 Oct 2016, 21:21:57 EST by Jacky Cribb on behalf of Learning and Research Services (UQ Library)