Developing the pregnancy support pack for people who have a learning disability



Accessible summary

  •  There is little information about pregnancy for people with learning disabilities. This means it is hard to make good choices.
  •  The pregnancy support pack has easy to read information about pregnancy and birth.
  •  Women with a learning disability told us the pack helped them to understand information their midwife gave them.
  •  Midwives told us the pack helped them to work better with women with a learning disability.


The literature agrees that an increasing number of people who have a learning disability have children. This group of parents are expected to fit into existing health services and are disadvantaged when presented with complex information regarding pregnancy and birth. There is a dearth of information in relation to accessible information on antenatal care and consent to medical procedures for parents with learning disabilities, despite this being a recommendation by best practice guidelines on working with parents who have a learning disability (SCLD, 2009; Department of Health and the Department of Education and Skills (DoH DfES) 2007; Department of Health 2009). This project aims to redress this balance by developing accessible resources for a typical pregnancy. Thematic analysis is used to evaluate the accessibility and acceptability of the resources from a professional and service user perspective, and identified themes are discussed. Results suggest that adapted resources are helpful in supporting parents with learning disabilities to access essential information about their pregnancy and to make informed decisions about their care. They support the interaction between parents and maternity services, resulting in a more effective and efficient care process. Implications for further research and developments are discussed.