Women with disabilities experience elevated risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. Most studies have inferred disabilities from diagnosis codes, likely undercounting disabilities. We analyzed data, including self-reported disability status, from the National Survey of Family Growth for the period 2011–19. We compared respondents with and without disabilities on these characteristics: smoking during pregnancy, delayed prenatal care, preterm birth, and low birthweight. A total of 19.5 percent of respondents who had given birth reported a disability, which is a much higher prevalence than estimates reported in US studies using diagnosis codes. Respondents with disabilities were twice as likely as those without disabilities to have smoked during pregnancy (19.0 percent versus 8.9 percent). They also had 24 percent and 29 percent higher risk for preterm birth and low birthweight, respectively. Our findings suggest that studies using diagnosis codes may represent only a small proportion of pregnancies among people with disabilities. Measurement and analysis of self-reported disability would facilitate better understanding of the full extent of disability-related disparities, per the Affordable Care Act.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy