Pregnancy outcomes among visually impaired women in Washington State, 1987-2014

Disabil Health J. 2021 Jul;14(3):101057. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2020.101057. Epub 2020 Dec 24.


Background: Women with visual impairment may have reduced ability to access standard care resources, however, information on their pregnancy and neonatal outcomes is limited.

Objective: To assess risk of adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes among visually impaired women in Washington State from 1987 to 2014.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using linked Washington State birth/fetal death hospital discharge records to compare outcomes among women with and without visual impairment noted at their delivery hospitalization. Pregnancy conditions and outcomes evaluated included gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, labor induction and cesarean delivery. Neonatal outcomes included preterm delivery and birth weight <2500 g. We assessed length of maternal and infant delivery hospitalization. We performed Poisson regression to estimate relative risks (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for each outcome, adjusting for year of delivery, maternal age, and parity.

Results: Most adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes were similar for visually impaired (N = 232) and comparison women (N = 2362). However, visually impaired women had increased risks of severe pre-eclampsia (RR 3.77, 95% CI 1.69-8.43), labor induction (RR 1.33, 95% CI 1.10-1.61) and preterm delivery (RR 1.60, 95% CI 1.06-2.42). They were also more likely to have delivery hospitalizations of 3 or more days following a vaginal (RR 1.86, 95% CI 1.41-2.47). Among cesarean deliveries, infants of visually impaired women had increased risk (RR 1.24, 95% CI 1.02-1.51) of hospitalization for 3 or more days postpartum.

Conclusion: Our findings may be useful for obstetric providers in counseling their visually impaired patients.

Keywords: Blindness; Hospitalization; Infant; Pre-eclampsia; Pregnancy; Visual impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Labor, Induced
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Washington