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The pregnancy experiences of amputee women: a qualitative exploration of online posts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Esmée Hanna, Sara Donetto

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
DOIs
E-pub ahead of print18 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: ©, Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology.

King's Authors

Abstract

Background: This paper seeks to explore the pregnancy experiences of amputee women. Relatively little is known about pregnancy for amputees, but the wider literature on disability and pregnancy shows that the disabled pregnant body is often viewed as ‘high risk’. The majority of amputations (90%) involve lower limb amputations; whilst our analytical interest was not limited to lower limb amputations, the sources we explored reflected the prevalence of lower limb amputees. Methods: Using online blogs and first-person accounts from 6 different sources (3 authors of blogs, 2 authors of websites and 1 author of an information page on a general amputation website), we thematically analyse amputee women’s own narratives around their experiences of pregnancy Findings: Four key themes were identified, which we describe as: The lack of information for the pregnant amputee; Managing risks; The embodied experience of suffering; and ‘It’s all worth it in the end’. Women amputees faced trade-offs between risks to self and the unborn child and reported physical discomforts due to pregnancy-related bodily changes impacting their prosthesis or residual limb. The challenges of pregnancy as an amputee were, however, all seen to be outweighed by the safe arrival of a healthy baby. Conclusions: The lack of information on pregnancy for amputees may affect women’s resilience to the adaptation challenges they face. Research should further explore the experiences of amputee mothers to ensure adequate information is available to them and their caring professionals, and that the needs of women with more challenging experiences are also addressed.

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