Autistic Motherhood P.1 Antenatal

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Full paper here:

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Full paper:

Nothing about us without us
Who: Talcer, Duffy, & Pedlow
Journal: Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders
Published: 2021
Title: A Qualitative Exploration into the Sensory Experiences of Autistic Mothers

Sensory Experiences of Autistic Mothers
Part 1. Antenatal

This study wanted to explore the sensory experiences of autistic mothers, the impact on their role as mother, and the coping strategies they employ


This research had five themes:
antenatal, sensory experiences in motherhood, impact, strategies & needs, and diagnosis.

> Pregnancy
> Severe Sickness
> Labour & Birth

Before birth

All participants reported that their sensory sensitivities increased during pregnancy, & many found the internal sensations of pregnancy very difficult.

“When he started moving inside me, it was unbearable.”


Autistic mothers reported severe & prolonged sickness throughout pregnancy, and many described it as “different” to the experiences neurotypical mothers reported.

“Staring at my computer screen would make me feel incredibly sick”

All of the participants were undiagnosed when they gave birth.

Some were able to request small accommodations, such as wearing the labour monitor on their ankle rather than wrist.


Some participants did not feel listened to by medical staff & found it very hard to communicate their needs during labour.

“They just don’t get it, they don’t understand.”

“It was really horrific because you’re having people coming in all the time in the room, the lights are really bright, it’s noisy… I could hear women far away in labour, and it affects you.”

Some found the predictability of a planned C-section, and seeing familiar staff, was really helpful during the birth process.

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