Tips suggested by members of our online community about pregnancy

Disability Pregnancy and Parenthood International (DPPI)

DPPI are experts in pregnancy and parenting as a disabled person. 

Enjoy it

If I could go back, I would say enjoy being pregnant as much as you can, you will find your own techniques for doing everything.

Home Start 

I had help from a charity called Home Start. They came to visit me for 2 hours a week and helped with tasks to give me a break while my husband was in work and kept me company.

Sourcing equipment

One of the many challenges I found was finding baby equipment I could use, so things like a one-handed fold pram, one-handed drop-side cot were a lifeline. When you are ready, go to a baby store and try things out, learn what you are able to manage and what you might need help with. If you do need something adapted that isn't already on the market, try Remap who can probably help. The other area of expertise that might help is a chat with an occupational therapist.

Safety first

I always put safety first when my son was wee. Things like stair gates on the door to my kitchen and bathroom, a playpen - for if I had warning of a seizure. Cupboard locks too. I also have a fall detector, a watch round my wrist with a movement sensor that will trigger a community alarm and get us help if I fall. By 15 months my son was able to trigger that alarm if he needed too and by 3 he was able to unlock the door, call 999 and was aware of my infrequent seizures (we used to call them jellies).

Don't stress about having a 'perfect' labour

The most important thing is that you and baby are safe. Don't put pressure on yourself for the 'perfect' labour as many non-disabled mums need a Caesarean.

Use a baby carrier

Use a baby carrier in a wheelchair. A square rather than a triangle shaped one (better positioning for baby, more support for you, more comfortable for you both).

Get a sturdy buggy

Get a sturdy buggy. Spend that bit more money and get one that you can lean some of your weight on so you have the option of using a walking stick or crutch at the same time.

Lock away your meds

Get a lockable cabinet for your meds. Ikea has nice ones.

Cot with drop sides

Try and get a cot with a drop side and different bed heights. We got ours second hand and ordered a new mattress to fit.

Sling choice

For me, the Mei Tai sling was the best thing for carrying my baby because there are no tricky catches. There are sling meets to try different ones. Try Mumsnet for those.

Hydrotherapy helped

I have rheumatoid and my mobility is really affected. So when we had our little girl I went to the Bath Hospital for Rheumatic Disease, where I had lots of hydrotherapy. They worked particularly on my core body strength. It helped with my balance and pre and post baby.

Put your wallet away

There are organisations that can make bespoke equipment for you, but I found just spending some time thinking about how to reduce faff can be as useful as a fancy bit of kit. That applies to any sort of parent - disabled or not really.

The Oxford Centre for Enablement (OCE)

The Oxford Centre of Enablement has people who are experts on the practicalities of being a disabled parent. OCE gave me a nursing cushion and a sling thing to pick my baby up one-handed. The best thing I got was a beaba chair (a bouncy chair that comes up from floor height to table height) which I slid from room to room with my daughter in it until she could walk. I also used strategically-placed chairs in the bathroom and bedroom, so I could lift my baby from a seated position. A lightweight pushchair that folded in half easily from birth and the most expensive was a stairlift so I could get her from one floor to another.

Plan ahead

I asked my GP to refer me to obstetrics to talk everything through before I was pregnant. It's also really useful to find other people with experience of disability and pregnancy too. The other thing I did before the off was to check what meds were safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Ask your midwife

If you are worried about how pregnancy will affect your balance, ask your midwife to put you in touch with a physio who can help.

Mobility during pregnancy

I have spastic diplegia and I managed to keep walking throughout the pregnancy, though it did get harder. Falling was my problem, though not as often as I worried I might. The bump changes the centre of balance. I used one of those trays on wheels at home. With hindsight a rollator might have been a good idea.

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Using these tips

These tips have been contributed by members of our online community. We hope they will give you some ideas to try, but if you need further help why not post a question to the community or talk to one of our community advisors. If you have any concerns about your health or the wellbeing of someone you are caring for, please consult a doctor or qualified professional.

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