The challenges of creating gender-inclusive birthing services

As society’s understanding of gender and sex evolves, our use of language evolves, too. Maternity wards and pregnancy care have, traditionally, largely used language oriented around women: the word ‘maternity’ itself, for one, but also ‘midwife’, ‘matron’, or ‘sister’. And while cisgender women remain the primary patients in such services, a rising number of trans and non-binary people, who may not identify as women, are also engaging with pregnancy planning and birth-related services,

Being excluded by the language used in birthing settings could lead to these parents feeling othered by the experience of bringing a child into the world, and potentially plant the seed for further-reaching mental health impacts. With giving birth being as stressful as it is, plus the risk of post-partum mental health struggles, efforts should be made to give all patients the best standard of care available. A new study by a UK-based research team explored the experiences, opinions, and educational needs of perinatal staff as related to the needs of trans and non-binary service users

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