Pregnancy Support Pack can support better interactions between parents with learning disabilities and maternity services

shutterstock_14786077 mother playing with two young children

Access to information about pregnancy is crucial for parents to be. For people with learning disabilities, faced with a variety of new choices to make, this is especially true. However, there is little information currently available about pregnancy for people with learning disabilities. As the number of women with learning disabilities becoming pregnant increases, it becomes more important to ensure that existing health services for pregnancy take account of the need to make information regarding pregnancy and birth accessible.

The authors of this study point out that there already exists best practice guidelines on working with parents who have a learning disability. They describe the project which aims to develop accessible resources for a typical pregnancy.

They used thematic analysis to evaluate the accessibility and acceptability of the resources from both a professional and a service user perspective.

The results of the analysis suggested that adapted resources were helpful in supporting parents with learning disabilities to access information and make informed decisions about their care.

Reports by midwifes on the use of the materials supported the idea that they helped with the relationship between midwife and expectant mother, and women with learning disabilities reported that the pack helped them to better understand the information the midwife had given them.

The authors point out that these findings suggest the use the materials can support better interactions between parents and maternity services and result in a more effective and efficient care process.

Developing the pregnancy support pack for people who have a learning disability, Porter E et al., in  British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40: 310–317

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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