press release 1 July 2009

New study from DPPI highlights lack of information about choices and services for disabled parents-to-be

A UK study on physically disabled parents' experiences of maternity services reveals that physically disabled people embarking on parenthood face a number of challenges in getting appropriate information and support, including negative attitudes from some health professionals, a lack of knowledge and information available for both parents and professionals, as well as poor communication between disabled parents and professionals.

Through the feedback received from disabled parents and health professionals, the study aimed to develop understanding of the information needs of physically disabled parents who use maternity services, and also to investigate the scope of existing provision.

This study was carried out by UK information charity, Disability, Pregnancy & Parenthood International (DPPI), as part of a Department of Health funded initiative called Empowering Parents.

DPPI welcomes any comments or queries from individuals or organisations about the contents of this report.


Notes to editors

Disability, Pregnancy and Parenthood International (DPPI) is the leading national information charity on disability and parenthood. It provides an information service for disabled people considering parenthood, during pregnancy and as parents and also for professionals, students and organisations working with disabled parents. DPPI produces a quarterly journal as well as a range of guides on disabled parenting, and also provides information via the website, training, and a resource centre at the National Centre for Disabled Parents. All DPPI publications are free to disabled parents: a small charge is made to others.

The study was carried out as part of Empowering Parents, a three year initiative funded by the Department of Health, which started in April 2008. It aims to empower physically disabled parents to make choices around pregnancy, birth and infant feeding, and to address some of the issues raised in the report by producing two new guides to provide information to this group of disabled parents; one on pregnancy and birth, and one on infant feeding and early baby care.

Award-winning publications: in October 2006 DPPI was presented with a Getting the Message Across award from The National Information Forum for its Sensory Impairments Project. The award acknowledged excellence and imagination in providing information to disabled people and others severely disadvantaged by lack of appropriate information. In this project, funded by the Big Lottery, DPPI produced new accessible resources for deaf and visually impaired parents, including the DVD A guide to pregnancy and childbirth for deaf parents and the pack Having a baby – a guide for visually impaired parents and professionals available in standard print, large print, extra large print, Braille, audio CD and DAISY CD.

Accessible information on pregnancy, birth and early baby care for parents with learning disabilities is available from CHANGE. For information, visit their website at

Empowering Parents