Childbearing Experiences of Women With Asperger Syndrome

Patricia Suplee, Marcia Gardner, Joan Bloch, Karen Lecks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: To explore the childbearing experiences of mothers with Asperger syndrome (AS). Design: Secondary analysis study. Setting: Online AS support groups. Sample: Eight women. Methods: Existing narrative data acquired from participants from online AS support groups who assisted in creating the online questionnaire were analyzed. All identifiers were removed by an honest broker before the narrative data were given to the researchers. An exploratory interpretive qualitative analysis using a constant comparative approach with data immersion was used. Triangulation of data through lay literature and parent‐organized websites was confirmatory. Results: Several key themes emerged from the analysis of data from the eight women with AS who had given birth: (a) hypersensitivities to sound, light, and touch throughout prenatal and intrapartum care; (b) increased anxiety during face‐to‐face interactions causing shutdown and interference with understanding health teaching and counseling; (c) excellent health promotion behaviors and dedication to being good mothers; (d) medical and behavior therapies for AS were often altered during the childbearing cycle; and (e) rewarding mother‐infant attachment and breastfeeding reported. Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice: As knowledge about autism has substantially increased over the last two decades and more individuals have been formally diagnosed with AS, caring for childbearing women who present with this diagnosis may be a relatively new phenomenon for obstetric health care providers, and no published research exists to guide clinicians on caring for these women. Nurses are in key positions to integrate what they already know about women with AS and postulate what their needs may be when providing care during the childbearing period. Clinically significant information was identified that has implications for tailoring nursing care to women with AS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S76
JournalJOGNN - Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing
StatePublished - Jun 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


  • Asperger syndrome
  • childbearing cycle
  • secondary analysis


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