Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type


First Advisor

Roseanne Rushing

Second Advisor

Jessica Cuculick


This study examined birth outcomes among Deaf mothers who have given birth in a hospital setting versus a home setting. Deaf individuals are often marginalized in healthcare due to lack of accessibility, and therefore, the right to make their own informed decisions. This marginalization leads to inequality in health care, and oftentimes individuals within the Deaf community, with added intersectionalities, face even more discrimination. Deaf women face more health disparities in comparison to hearing women due to a variety of factors which include; lack of accessibility, medical professionals’ lack of cultural competency, and lack of inclusion in their healthcare decisions. The goal of this study was to understand the perceptions of Deaf women’s birthing outcomes based on where the birth took place and what communication strategy (or lack thereof) was in place and the reasons behind these outcomes. 76 Deaf mothers who experienced hospital births, and 27 Deaf mothers who experienced home births with a birthing attendant present were surveyed about their experience based on six fundamental healthcare principles, which was then quantified and compared for satisfaction rates. Three in-depth interviews were conducted with a sample of Deaf mothers in order to provide qualitative data to give further insight towards the differences in birthing experiences and outcomes based on the difference in location and access to communication. Results show a preference for home births, which may be an indication of how to provide better birthing outcomes for not only Deaf women, but also for many groups of women who are often marginalized in healthcare.



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