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Can quadriplegic woman get pregnant

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What can you expect about pregnancy and fertility after spinal cord injury? Learning about a female and male fertility following a spinal cord injury is one thing, and getting a spinal cord injury fertility specialist is another. Whether your spinal cord injury was caused by a medical malpractice, car accident or another type of traumatic accident, the injury can lead to life-long complications that can affect your sensation, motor skills, and breathing. If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation to cover your damages. Call our experienced injury lawyers at for free, friendly advice. Many couples wonder about impotence after spinal cord injury.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Women with Spinal Cord Injury: Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Quadriplegic Woman Uses IVF to Have Baby?

Indiana woman with quadriplegia embraces joys, challenges of motherhood

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Sexual identity is a significant and encompassing aspect of one's personality — sexuality plays an essential role in how we feel about ourselves, how we relate to others, how others relate to us. Self-image can be shaken. Women wonder if they can have sex again, whether they can attract a partner, whether the partner will stay, whether having children is possible.

Paralysis itself doesn't affect a woman's libido or her need to express herself sexually, nor does it affect her ability to conceive a child.

Generally speaking, sexuality in women living with paralysis is less affected than in men. It is physically easier for a woman to adapt her sexual role, even though it may be more passive than that of a non-disabled woman. While the level of sexual desire may be the same in women with disabilities, the level of activity is generally less because it can be difficult to find a romantic partner. It helps to understand the anatomy and physiology of sexual function and sexual response. It may also help to connect with appropriate resources and knowledgeable health care professionals or counselors to review the available options.

Sexuality does not disappear after paralysis. Explore sexuality with an open heart and open mind. There are no physiological changes after paralysis that prevent women from engaging in sexual activity, but there are a number internal shifts across the body.

For example:. Typically, lubrication occurs as a psychogenic mental and reflex physical response to something sexually stimulating or arousing. It has been suggested that lubrication in women is the physiological equivalent of the erection in the male, and is probably innervated in the same way.

Women can substitute water-based never oil-based, such as Vaseline lubricants such as K-Y Jelly. Low sex drive is common among women with paralysis. Meanwhile, Viagra was clinically tested by a group of women with spinal cord injuries and almost all reported that the drug stimulated arousal. In some, it enhanced lubrication and sensation during intercourse. In some conditions of paralysis, such as multiple sclerosis , cognitive problems can undermine sexuality.

People with short-term memory or concentration loss may drift off during sexual activities in a way that can be disheartening to the partner. It requires love and patience, with lots of communication, to bring this out in the open and to seek the needed psychological or medical treatment. Women who are paralyzed often fear bowel and bladder accidents during times of intimacy.

There are a number of ways to reduce the chance of accidents. The first is to limit fluid intake if a sexual encounter is planned. Women who use intermittent catheterization should empty the bladder before beginning sexual activity.

Women who use a suprapubic or Foley catheter find that taping the catheter tube to the thigh or abdomen keeps it out of the way. The Foley can be left in during sexual intercourse because, unknown to many men and even women, the urethra urinary opening is separate from the vagina.

The best way to avoid a bowel accident is to establish a consistent bowel program. Women may also want to avoid eating right before engaging in sexual activity. With good communication, an occasional bladder or bowel accident won't destroy a rewarding sex life. Sexual success is often measured by whether or not partners achieve orgasm. A woman with paralysis, like men with similar levels of function, can achieve what is described as a normal orgasm if there is some residual pelvic innervation.

Marca Sipski of the University of Alabama School of Medicine thinks paralyzed women retain an orgasm reflex that requires no brain input.

The ability to achieve orgasm seems unrelated to the degree of neurological impairment in women with lesions down to T5 level. Her research indicates the potential is still there, but women may give up trying to have orgasms because they lack or have limited sensation in the genital area.

A small body of research suggests that women with SCI can achieve orgasm using a clitoral vacuum suction device Eros device , FDA approved to treat female orgasmic dysfunction.

The device increases blood flow, thus creating clitoral engorgement that may increase vaginal lubrication and heighten orgasm response. Some paralyzed men and women, with practice and focused thought, are able to experience a "phantom orgasm," through reassignment of sexual response. This involves mentally intensifying an existing sensation from one portion of their body and reassigning the sensation to the genitals.

Women with paraplegia or tetraplegia who are of childbearing age usually regain their menstrual cycle. In fact, nearly 50 percent do not miss a single period following injury. Pregnancy is possible and generally not a health risk. While most paralyzed women can have normal vaginal deliveries, certain complications of pregnancy are possible, including increased urinary tract infections, pressure sores and spasticity.

Autonomic dysreflexia is a serious risk during labor for those with injuries above T6. Also, loss of sensation in the pelvic area can prevent the woman from knowing that labor has begun.

Another potential risk of pregnancy is the development of thromboembolism, in which blood vessels become blocked by clots. With high thoracic or cervical lesions, respiratory function may be impaired with the increased burden of pregnancy or the work of labor, requiring ventilator support. Women living with disabilities often do not receive adequate healthcare services. For example, routine pelvic exams are not done due to lack of awareness of the need, problems getting onto the exam table, or not being able to find a doctor with knowledge about their disability.

Providers might wrongly assume that women with disabilities are not having sex, especially if their disability is severe, and therefore may neglect to screen these women for sexually transmitted diseases STDs or even perform a full pelvic exam.

Unfortunately, some healthcare providers even suggest to women with disabilities that they abstain from sex and not bear children, even if they can conceive children. Women with disabilities must be aware that they are among the one in eight women who will get breast cancer. Screening is essential. Women with limited use of their arms and hands may need to perform exams using alternate positions or with the help of an attendant or family member.

In the clinic, getting a wheelchair in the door is the easy part but there are many medical offices and equipment that are not accessible. Services or programs provided to patients with disabilities must be equal to those provided for persons without disabilities. Since paralysis does not usually affect fertility in the female, contraception is important.

There are also some special considerations. Oral contraceptives are linked to inflammation and clots in blood vessels, and the risk of these is greater with spinal cord injury. Intrauterine devices cannot always be felt in the paralyzed woman and may cause undetected complications. Use of diaphragms and spermicides can be difficult for those with impaired hand dexterity. The reproductive and sexual health of women living with paralysis is often overlooked by society, medical professionals and women themselves.

This webinar seeks to empower women with perspective and information on their reproductive and sexual health and explores a number of topics including the importance of reproductive and sexual health for women with paralysis, secondary conditions that impact reproductive health, sexuality for women with paralysis, barriers to quality health care and their consequences, and strategies for locating accessible health care services.

Presenter Cody Unser, MPH, shares her own experiences with the health care system as a woman living with paralysis. If you are looking for more information on sexual health or have a specific question, our information specialists are available business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at from 9am to 5pm ET.

Additionally, the Reeve Foundation maintains a fact sheet on female sexuality and pregnancy with additional resources from trusted Reeve Foundation sources. Check out our repository of fact sheets on hundreds of topics ranging from state resources to secondary complications of paralysis. Download our booklet on sexuality and reproductive health after paralysis. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions.

Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy. Reeve Foundation. Sex after paralysis Sexual identity is a significant and encompassing aspect of one's personality — sexuality plays an essential role in how we feel about ourselves, how we relate to others, how others relate to us. While the range of sexual options may be different, physical attraction and sexual activity are realistic expectations — no matter the level or completeness of paralysis.

Sexual pleasure is possible. Physical and emotional changes in sexuality There are no physiological changes after paralysis that prevent women from engaging in sexual activity, but there are a number internal shifts across the body.

For example: Positioning can be an issue but can usually be accommodated. Autonomic dysreflexia can be anticipated and controlled. Many women experience a loss of vaginal muscle control and many are unable to produce vaginal lubrication. Both problems are likely the result of the interruption in normal nerve signals from the brain to the genital area.

While there is no remedy for muscle loss, lubrication, of course, can be augmented. Intimacy Sexual success is often measured by whether or not partners achieve orgasm. This involves mentally intensifying an existing sensation from one portion of their body and reassigning the sensation to the genitals Pregnancy Women with paraplegia or tetraplegia who are of childbearing age usually regain their menstrual cycle.

Breast health Women with disabilities must be aware that they are among the one in eight women who will get breast cancer. Birth control Since paralysis does not usually affect fertility in the female, contraception is important. Wheelchair Barbie Goes to the Gynecologist The reproductive and sexual health of women living with paralysis is often overlooked by society, medical professionals and women themselves. Recorded live on April 17, Video: Women's sexual health Resources If you are looking for more information on sexual health or have a specific question, our information specialists are available business weekdays, Monday through Friday, toll-free at from 9am to 5pm ET.

We also encourage you to reach out to other support groups and organizations, including: CareCure Community hosts a relationships and sexuality forum. Center for Research on Women with Disabilities CROWD focuses on issues related to health including reproduction and sexuality , aging, civil rights, abuse and independent living. The site, supported in part by the Reeve Foundation, features articles, resources and a place to share experiences and solutions.

Related pages Sexual health for men Webcast: Dr. Dan on Intimacy Video series: Sex on wheels Get support Ask us anything Get a peer mentor Find resources in your area Join the discussion in our forum. Connect with us t f y l g.

Pregnancy and delivery in tetraplegic women.

This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. Sandra Burton would never feel the wrenching labour pains signaling her twin girls were ready to come into the world. It was one of the many risks of her pregnancy, and the one that most worried her doctors and kept her husband awake at night.

English PDF. Having a spinal cord injury SCI does not affect your ability to naturally become pregnant, carry, and deliver a baby, so your decision to have children is made in much the same way as anyone else.

As each of her children grew inside her womb, Joni Vanderwoude felt nothing — not the fluttering first kicks in the beginning, not the bulging of her belly as it stretched to the size of a basketball, not the piercing contractions of labor that usually signal it's time. A car accident 16 years ago left Vanderwoude paralyzed from the neck down, unable to walk, cough or even scratch her own nose without someone to do what her own body could not. But Vanderwoude, of DeMotte, Ind. Two years after the accident, she married her high school sweetheart. Four years after that they began trying to have children — a medical possibility for most women who suffer from spinal cord injury, despite what people might assume.

Special delivery: Quadriplegic gives birth to twins in Hamilton hospital

Despite their physical limitations, women who are paralyzed can become pregnant and have a vaginal birth. While paralyzed men tend to have some difficulty with sexual function, paralyzed women typically continue to menstruate and experience the same level of sexual desire as non-paralyzed women. However, because of the mother's lack of mobility, there is a greater risk of complications during pregnancy and delivery. These include anemia, urinary tract infections, autonomic dysreflexia an over-stimulation of the nervous system that affects people with spinal cord trauma in particular , and trouble determining when labor is beginning. Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.

Sexual health for women

Fertility issues can arise for spinal cord injury survivors, but a spinal cord injury does not have to mean giving up on parenting children. In the aftermath of a spinal cord injury, you might be so overwhelmed by your immediate needs that you give little thought to the future. But as things settle in and you begin to return to your everyday life, you may realize just how normal life with a spinal cord injury can feel. Eventually, being a spinal cord injury survivor will become just one facet of your identity—like your age, hair color, or college degree—not the sum total of who you are or can be.

Our quiz discovers articles that are specific to your mobility and interests, and saves them all to one feed.

The physical act of intercourse is not all that defines your sexuality. When we talk about sexuality, we mean more than what goes on behind your bedroom doors. Sexuality is the intimacy between you and your partner, your preferences, your body image and desires. The definition above is not usually what most people think of when they think of sex.

Pregnancy and Fertility after Spinal Cord injury

Sexual identity is a significant and encompassing aspect of one's personality — sexuality plays an essential role in how we feel about ourselves, how we relate to others, how others relate to us. Self-image can be shaken. Women wonder if they can have sex again, whether they can attract a partner, whether the partner will stay, whether having children is possible.

What about getting married? Can you naturally conceive a family? His questions are shared by thousands of young men each year who suffer paralyzing spinal injuries. After the accident, he grew closer to a woman he had met while both were dating other people. Rates of women who are opting for preventive mastectomies, such as Angeline Jolie, have increased by an estimated 50 percent in recent years, experts say. But many doctors are puzzled because the operation doesn't carry a percent guarantee, it's major surgery -- and women have other options, from a once-a-day pill to careful monitoring.

Fertility After SCI

Increase in survival of spinal cord injured SCI women, society's acceptance that their lives should be similar to those of non-disabled women and their better general health are increasing the number of SCI women who become pregnant and will be delivered of a child. Vaginal delivery is preferred. Any SCI woman whose level is at T6 or higher is at risk for acute autonomic hyperreflexia as a result of uterine contractions. Communication with the woman's obstetrician is essential. The patient should be provided with a packet of information to share with the obstetrician. This should be followed with a phone call from the SCI physician to the obstetrician. Effective management includes epidural anesthesia; vacuum extraction is helpful in the expulsion stage.

Women with spinal cord injuries can have healthy children, although there are of nitroprusside and subsequent epidural analgesia in a pregnant quadriplegic  by LL Cross - ‎ - ‎Cited by 31 - ‎Related articles.

After the trailers for Me Before You started airing on TV, some disability rights activists began to speak out in protest. One of the many problems people have pointed out about the film is that the main character Will, who became a quadriplegic after a motorcycle accident, assumes that having a fulfilling sex life is not possible for someone with his type of physical disability. It's a very common misconception, Mitchell Tepper, Ph.

Pregnancy and Women with Spinal Cord Injury

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