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To explore the maternity care experiences of learning disabled women and identify barriers to quality of care in pregnancy and early motherhood. 

Why is this important

Earlier quantitative research has found that learning disabled women were less likely to feel involved in decisions about care or spoken to in a way they could understand and did not always find midwives helpful. This study aims to understand more about these difficulties and identify ways of overcoming them.


We will conduct in-depth qualitative interviews with learning disabled women who have given birth in the past three years or are currently pregnant. The interviews will cover topics including accessing maternity services, information received and level of communication, choices, respect, dignity, support and the quality of care received. The data will be analysed thematically and lay summaries of the findings will be published as part of the pregnancy and childbirth section on 

How this could benefit patients

The online resource at will be of use to learning disabled women who are pregnant or thinking of having a baby, family members, the general public and health professionals. 

Further information:

Full project title:

Experiencing maternity care as a learning disabled woman

Length of project:

1 year


Department of Health

External collaborators:

  • National Perinatal Epidemiolgy Unit (NPEU): Reem Malouf (project lead)