A Ramp to Motherhood: The Experiences of Mothers with Physical Disabilities

Ora Prilleltensky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


This paper describes a qualitative study on the experiences of mothers with physical disabilities. Two focus groups were held for mothers with young children and mothers of older children. Eight mothers also participated in in-depth interviews. All had a mobility/limb impairment; most were wheelchair users. Participants described reactions to their pregnancy, their stay on the maternity ward, and their experience as a disabled mother with a newborn baby. They encountered a range of reactions and attitudes to their pregnancy, with some facing opposition and scepticism. Mothers varied in the level of formal and informal support available to them and in the number and magnitude of stressors that they faced. Those who required assistance to carry out caring tasks emphasized the importance of retaining control over the parental role. The shortage of funded resources to help meet children's needs was noted as a major hurdle for mothers with physical disabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-47
Number of pages27
JournalSexuality and Disability
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003


  • Disability
  • Motherhood
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions(all)


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