Equipping future professionals in supporting pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood with a physical disability
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Research Centre Innovations in Care, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Department of Healthcare Studies, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date: 2023-10-24
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Hanneke W Harmsen van der Vliet - Torij   

Research Centre Innovations in Care, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A20
Women with a physical disability have a higher risk of maternal and neonatal complications and often face problems of a practical nature. It is important to support these (future) parents during pregnancy, childbirth, and during (the transition to) parenthood. The attitude of professionals during these processes is crucial: autonomy in the parental role is experienced as very important. Unfortunately, (future) professionals often lack knowledge about how to prepare for pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood of women with a physical disability, possible complications, and the needs of these women and their partners. This lack of knowledge and the negative attitudes of caregivers limit the autonomy of these women.

Aim of the module:
Therefore, we developed a multidisciplinary module for students midwifery, occupational therapy, nursing, and physiotherapy. The aim of the module is to increase future professionals’ awareness of becoming pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth, and becoming a parent with a physical disability and to adequately equip these professionals in providing care to these women. Students gain insight into their future roles and into the needs of women and their partners that face a physical disability.

Content of the module:
During the module, various experts - women with a physical disability and professionals – discuss with the students concerning this theme and give insight into their field of expertise. Also, students work in multidisciplinary groups on an assignment. The result is presented by the group at the end of the module.

Application to practice and education:
The module anticipates to the philosophy of midwifery care that is based on the ethical principles of justice, equity, and respect for human dignity. Adequately equipping future professionals, including midwives, through education is crucial in improving care for pregnant women with a physical disability. Specific attention is needed to improve knowledge and gain insight into the wishes and needs of pregnant women and their partners.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
There is no funding for this research.
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