​From Paralysis to Pregnancy and Parenthood: An Insider's Guide

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on April 14, 2021 # Reeve Summit

From Paralysis to Pregnancy and Parenthood: An Insider's Guide

Reeve Summit 2021 Workshop Features Quadriplegic Mom of Twins & Her Doctor

Dani Izzie is a quadriplegic who became a first-time mom in April 2020. To twins. During a pandemic. Now she wants people to know that pregnancy and parenthood with paralysis is possible. With or without a pandemic.

Izzie (pronounced EYE-zee) and the specialist who guided her through her pregnancy and delivery, Robert Fuller, M.D., Ph.D., will share their extraordinary journey at the Reeve Summit 2021 (April 27-29) and answer questions from participants during a live interactive session. A disability advocate and wheelchair user, Izzie is one of only a handful of quadriplegics known to have given birth to twins. Fuller is a subspecialist in complex, high-risk maternal conditions and complications of pregnancy.


Medical Insight Plus Real-World Experience of Pregnancy and Childbirth with Paralysis

The virtual workshop marries expert medical insight with real-world experience. Fuller will cover critical aspects of pregnancy with spinal cord injury, including what to look for in an obstetrician, what to expect during each trimester, and key concerns and choices during labor and delivery. Izzie will share the concerns, emotions, and ultimately successes she experienced during her high-risk twin pregnancy under the care of Dr. Fuller. The session will be interspersed with footage from Dani's pregnancy captured while filming the independent documentary film "Dani's Twins" (currently in post-production).

Designed as a reflective conversation between doctor and patient, the session will cover common questions recently fielded from expecting or planning-to-conceive mothers with SCI. Topics such as medications, SCI-specific precautions, bowel and bladder management, changes in mobility, autonomic dysreflexia, sensation, and postpartum care, will be explored as they relate to pregnancy.

Inspiration and Reassurance for Women with Paralysis Considering Pregnancy

As an activist passionate about elevating the voices of disabled parents, Izzie hopes to encourage community discourse and inspire and reassure women with spinal cord injury who are considering pregnancy. In some ways, she wrote in Spinalpedia, pregnancy is "the great equalizer."

"Non-disabled women suddenly experience what it's like to have overactive bladder and constipation, limited mobility and trouble with positioning, muscle and joint pain, swelling, reliance or increased dependence on others, possible complications, frustration over a changing body, and other challenges that us wheelers are already accustomed to.I think this is why my obstetrician told me that because of my disability, I was already equipped for the challenges of pregnancy. And I think this is an encouraging takeaway for all women with SCI who want to have a baby, but might be fearful of this vastly underrepresented topic."

~ Dani Izzie, in Spinalpedia (April 2020)

Second Annual Reeve Summit April 27-29 Features 40+ Virtual Sessions on Paralysis Topics

The second annual Reeve Summit: Where Care, Cure and Community Connect takes place April 27-29, 2021. "An Insider's Guide to Pregnancy and Paralysis" with Dani Izzie and Dr. Robert Fuller (April 27, 6-7 p.m.) is one of more than 40 virtual sessions. The summit will explore topics relevant to the paralysis community, including advocacy, caregiving, employment, research, and health and wellness. Participants around the globe will have a chance to hear from experts, ask questions, and share their own experiences of living with paralysis.


The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.