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Autistic women twice likely to repeat pregnancy within a year

Health Medical Pharma

Press Trust of India  |  Toronto 

Women with developmental disabilities such as autism or Down syndrome are two times more likely to have another baby within a year of their first delivery, a study has found.

The research Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences indicates that such women lack access to reproductive health care, such as pregnancy planning and contraception.

Rapid repeat pregnancy within one year of a previous live birth is associated with smaller babies, preterm birth, neonatal death and other adverse effects.

About one in 100 adults have an intellectual or developmental disability, such as autism-spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome and other nonspecific conditions that cause intellectual and developmental limitations.

Researchers analysed data on 2,855 women with intellectual and developmental disabilities compared with 923,367 women without such disabilities who had a live birth between 2002 and 2013.

They found that 7.6 per cent of women with these disabilities had another baby within a year, compared to 3.9 per cent of women without these disabilities.

"Women with intellectual and developmental disabilities are more likely than those without such disabilities to be young and disadvantaged in each marker of social, health, and health care disparities," said Hilary Brown, an adjunct scientist at Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

"They experience high rates of poverty and chronic physical and mental illness, and have poor access to primary care," said Brown, lead author of the study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Rapid repeat pregnancies in women with intellectual and developmental disabilities ended in induced abortion (49 per cent), live birth (33 per cent) and pregnancy loss (18 per cent) compared with induced abortion (59 per cent), pregnancy loss (22 per cent) and live birth (19 per cent) in women without these disabilities.

"This study shows that current efforts to promote reproductive health might not be reaching women with intellectual and developmental disabilities and that there is a lot more we can do to educate and support these women in relation to pregnancy planning and contraception," said Brown.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, August 13 2018. 15:50 IST