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Deaf women may have pre-term or low birth weight babies


New York: Babies born to women with hearing loss are more likely at risk of being born premature and or have low birth weight, says a study led by an Indian-origin researcher.

The findings showed that hearing issues reduces opportunities for individuals to benefit from mass media, healthcare messages, healthcare communication, and incidental learning opportunities.

Further, healthcare providers rarely receive training on how to communicate effectively and care for individuals with hearing loss, resulting in poor communication, increased provider frustrations, and changes in healthcare delivery.

Thus, compared with women who did not have hearing loss, those who did were at greater risk of giving birth prematurely and or having a low-birth-weight baby.

“Factors such as potential biological factors, interpersonal violence, and health knowledge and health literacy among women with hearing loss, and the general dissatisfaction of women with hearing loss with their healthcare, could potentially explain the poor birth outcomes found in this study,” said lead investigator Monika Mitra, Associate Professor at Brandeis University, in Massachusetts, US.

In addition, women with hearing loss were also nearly twice as likely to have at least two co-existing health conditions than women without hearing loss, and they were also more likely to be admitted to urban teaching hospitals.

Efforts to develop clinical interventions and maternal and child health programs are needed to improve these adverse outcomes among women with hearing loss, Mitra said, in the paper published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The study investigated birth outcomes — which included pre-term birth and low birth weight — among women with hearing loss, and the presence of other medical conditions.

Of nearly 18 million deliveries, about 10,500 were among women with hearing loss.

In the study, the team also developed a new perinatal health framework that identified a set of individual and mediating factors that may impact maternal and birth outcomes for women with physical disabilities.

“Mediating factors, for example, include provider knowledge and attitudes toward pregnancy, family support, and psychosocial factors such as stressful life events,” Mitra noted.


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