A qualitative exploration of autistic mothers' experiences II: Childbirth and postnatal experiences.

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Man, Joyce 
Baron-Cohen, Simon 

Very little research has looked at how autistic people experience childbirth and the first few months of parenthood. We interviewed 21 autistic and 25 non-autistic women 2-3 months after their baby was born, to find out how they experienced giving birth and being a parent. Some autistic participants found sensory aspects of giving birth difficult, such as noise and being touched. They also wanted healthcare professionals to give them clear information while giving birth. Participants sometimes thought that healthcare professionals did not know enough about autism. Autistic and non-autistic participants both found parenthood difficult at times and autistic parents sometimes had extra difficulties, such as with planning and organising. Autistic participants also felt good at understanding their baby's needs. This research suggests that autistic people would benefit from changes to childbirth and postnatal healthcare such as being communicated with more clearly. It also indicates that healthcare professionals should receive more training about autism.


Funder: Sackler Trust; FundRef: https://doi.org/10.13039/100015656

Funder: Medical Research Council; FundRef: https://doi.org/10.13039/501100000265

Funder: Autism Research Trust

Funder: Pinsent Darwin Fund

Funder: Autistica; FundRef: https://doi.org/10.13039/501100008161

Funder: NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre; FundRef: https://doi.org/10.13039/501100018956

Funder: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care East of England at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust

autism, childbirth, healthcare, maternity, parenting, postnatal, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autistic Disorder, Delivery, Obstetric, Female, Humans, Mothers, Parents, Pregnancy, Qualitative Research
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SAGE Publications
Wellcome Trust (214322/Z/18/Z)
Medical Research Council (1802123)