Can people in wheelchairs have kids? The short answer is yes. Most people with disabilities can still have an active sex life, conceive and raise their children.
But wheelchair users still face a lot of challenges, especially when pregnant. Read on!
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Can People in Wheelchairs Have kids?
A common misconception is that individuals with mobility disabilities cannot have kids. A physical disability, spinal cord injury (SCI), or cerebral palsy doesn’t make someone unable to have kids.
Disabled women can have positive birth experiences and normal deliveries. But depending on the injury level, health care providers tell disabled mothers to seek guidance and do regular checkups.
But can a disabled man have a baby? Yes, a disabled man can have healthy children despite his health condition.
Some men cannot have sexual activities because their disability affects their sexual functions. But technological advances have assisted medical professionals in helping disabled men have children. (1)
Watch this TEDx talk to understand disabled parenting in the eyes of the ableist world.
RELATED: Do People in Wheelchairs Have Sex?
Challenges for Pregnant Wheelchair Users
Pregnant moms need more attention because of their mobility disabilities. Hypnobirthing classes can ease the process and give pain-free birth assurance.
We live in an ableist world, and you will face several challenges during pregnancy. Here are five challenges you can expect.
1. Lack of Accessible Facilities
Wheelchair-accessible facilities are crucial for every disabled person. Basic research studies show that some health care providers lack accessible equipment, which limits accessibility. (2)
It can be challenging for disabled mothers in wheelchairs to access the facilities because of the lack of ramps.
READ MORE: Can a Disabled Person Live Alone?
2. Social Stigma
Many wheelchair users face prejudice in their daily activities in the form of awkward stares. This can get worse when people see a disabled person pregnant.
Most health care providers lack the proper knowledge to manage pregnant women living with mobility disabilities.
Remember that there are many differences between women, every single one of them. Your disability is just another difference.
3. Maintaining Healthy Weight Gain
Pregnancy comes with a fair share of weight gain to support the baby’s growth. The standard gain rate ranges from 25 to 35 pounds, but yours may differ because of your mobility disability. (3)
Maintaining a good weight to avoid stressing your body can be challenging, but a medical professional can offer advice.
You can take pregnancy meditation classes for a healthy pregnancy and improved mobility.
4. Health Complications
Most women, especially the ones suffering from spinal cord injury, are prone to health complications.
Common health issues include Autonomic Dysreflexia (AD), deep vein thrombosis, and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs). (4)
Obstetricians usually recommend monitoring since these ailments can cause early uterine contractions.
Practitioners can prescribe pain medication to ease discomfort, maintain healthy bladder function, and stop bowel dysfunction.
5. Possibility of a Caesarian Delivery
For most pregnant women, natural birth or vaginal delivery is a significant preference. But doctors can choose other methods. (5)
Note that having mobility disabilities does not warrant using a cesarean birth plan. Doctors can use forceps, vacuum cups, and special medical devices or administer oxytocin to stimulate labor.
How Hypnobirthing Helps Pregnant Wheelchair Users
Hypnobirthing teaches pregnant women mindfulness techniques to give birth with ease or have a less painful delivery.
It takes away the birth culture pressures and goes beyond the typical categorizations of the entire birth process.
A hypnobirthing class can be the primary trigger for a more relaxed trimester of pregnancy or experience of birth.
The training sessions take time, which you may lack in your daily activities routine. The good news is that you can take 2.5-hour classes.
And does hypnobirthing work? Yes, according to a medical research study report, you will probably experience shorter delivery periods, reduced rates of birth intervention, and an increased possibility of vaginal delivery.
But note that this pregnant people relaxation technique does not equip you with an alternative birth plan in case of failure. (6)
Can People in Wheelchairs Have Kids FAQs
Can a disabled person have a baby?
Yes, disabled people can have a baby. But depending on the level of injury, an obstetrician can help an individual patient on the best way forward.
Will my insurance cover pay for hypnobirthing classes?
No, the hypnobirthing methods are not mandatory, and the classes are optional. It is up to you to cover the training sessions, not your insurance provider.
Can a disabled man have a baby?
Yes, while someone with a mobility disability can fail to erect, having a baby is still possible. Developmental studies are showing ways to stimulate ejaculation without costly sperm extraction surgeries.
Do disabilities in pregnant women warrant a cesarean section?
No, disabilities in pregnant wheelchair users do not warrant a caesarian section. Disabled women can have normal births, and other intervention methods are usable.
The question, “can people in wheelchairs have kids” concerns many individuals. But remember that most disabled people have the same sexual function as those living without disabilities.
But disabled women might have to see the doctor regularly, depending on their level of injury.
Understand that physical disabilities do not take away the right to parenthood.
- 1. Loeppky J. For Disabled Dads, There’s Just More to Parenthood [Internet]. Verywell Mind. 2022 [cited 2022 Sep 13]. Available from: https://www.verywellmind.com/for-disabled-dads-there-s-just-more-to-parenthood-5442828
- 2. Iezzoni LI, Wint AJ, Smeltzer SC, Ecker JL. Physical Accessibility of Routine Prenatal Care for Women with Mobility Disability. Journal of Women’s Health. 2015;24:1006–12.
- 3. MedlinePlus. Managing your weight gain during pregnancy: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. medlineplus.gov. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000603.htm#:~:text=Most%20women%20should%20gain%20somewhere
- 4. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. Care for Problems Arising From Disabilities in Pregnancy [Internet]. Jognn.org. 2022 [cited 2022 Sep 13]. Available from: https://www.jognn.org/action/showFullTableHTML?isHtml=true&tableId=t0010&pii=S0884-2175%2815%2933661-3
- 5. Saropala N. The Benefits to Be Gained from Vaginal Delivery [Internet]. www.bumrungrad.com. 2019. Available from: https://www.bumrungrad.com/en/health-blog/january-2019/vaginal-delivery
- 6. Buran G, Aksu H. Effect of Hypnobirthing Training on Fear, Pain, Satisfaction Related to Birth, and Birth Outcomes: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Clinical Nursing Research. 2022;31:105477382110733.