Live birth, miscarriage, and abortion among U.S. women with and without disabilities

Willi Horner-Johnson, Sheetal Kulkarni-Rajasekhara, Blair G. Darney, Mekhala Dissanayake, Aaron B. Caughey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background Prior studies have found that women with disabilities who give birth are more likely to have preterm deliveries and low birthweight infants. However, it is not known what proportion of pregnant women with disabilities experience live birth, versus miscarriage or abortion. Objective To compare proportions of live birth, miscarriage, and abortion among women with basic action difficulties, women with complex activity limitations, and women without disabilities in a nationally representative sample. Methods We analyzed pooled Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) data from Panels 1–11 (covering years 1996–2007), which included a Pregnancy Detail module assessing outcomes for women who were pregnant during panel participation. We used chi-square tests and multivariable logistic regression to compare disability groups on pregnancy outcomes. Results Among women with a recorded pregnancy outcome, women with disabilities were less likely to have live births (80.8% of women with basic action difficulties and 75.3% of women with complex activity limitations versus 85.0% of women without disabilities), but differences related to disability were not significant when adjusting for covariates. Women with complex activity limitations were significantly more likely to report miscarriages, even when controlling for covariates. Disability was not significantly associated with abortion in the adjusted analysis. Conclusions Our findings add to the growing literature on pregnancy outcomes among women with disabilities, providing important information about outcomes that are not reflected in delivery records. We found few differences between women with and without disabilities, and good likelihood of live birth among women with disabilities experiencing pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-386
Number of pages5
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Induced abortion
  • Live birth
  • Miscarriage
  • People with disabilities
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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