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Pregnancy healthcare for lesbian women

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There have been several studies that discuss healthcare experiences of pregnant lesbian women. Larsson and Dykes conducted a study in 2009 about lesbian mothers in Sweden. The participants wanted their healthcare providers to confirm and recognize both parents, not just the biological mother. They also wanted their healthcare providers to ask questions about their "life styles" to demonstrate their openness about sexuality. Most of the women in the study commented that they had good experiences with healthcare. However, birth education tended to focus on mother and father dynamics. The forms that were also used tended to be heterosexist (see Heterosexism), only allowing for mother and father identities. To account for these differences, Singer created a document about how to improve the prenatal care of lesbian women in the United States. She found that curiosity about a patient's sexuality can take over an appointment, sometimes placing the patient into a situation where they end up educating the provider. To be inclusive, Singer recommended that healthcare providers should be more inclusive in their opening discussions by saying "So tell me the story of how you became pregnant". Healthcare providers should, according to Singer, use inclusive language that can be used for all types of patients. Healthcare providers were also not aware of how much reproductive health care cost for lesbian couples and they should openly recognize this issue with their lesbian patients. Pharris, Bucchio, Dotson, and Davidson also provided suggestions on how to support lesbian couples during pregnancy. Childbirth educators should avoid assuming that parents are heterosexual or straight couples. They recommend using neutral language when discussing parent preferences. Forms, applications, and other distributed information should be inclusive of lesbian parents. They suggest using terms such as "non-biological mother, co-parent, social mother, other mother and second female parent" are good examples. Asking parents was also a suggested way to figure out what term should be used. Parents may also need help navigating legal systems in the area.

Midwife(wives) and Doula(s) have provided care for lesbian women and couples who are pregnant. In an article in Rewire News, there was a discussion of how midwives and doulas are attempting to improve the overall care of lesbian couples by having specific training based on providing care to these couples as well as having inclusive processes. In a study of lesbian and bisexual women in Canada about using healthcare services, researchers Ross, Steele, and Epstein found that the women in the study loved working with doulas and midwives. Midwives were considered helpful advocates with other healthcare providers that they encountered. Midwives also discuss their perspectives. Röndahl, Bruhner, and Lindhe conducted a study in 2009 about lesbian pregnancy experiences of women in Norway. They found that midwives were the ones who were responsible for creating a space to discuss sexuality. However, midwives in the study felt that they were inadequate about having the communication tools to create this space. Additionally, the researchers found that lesbian couples were seen as different compared to straight couples. The partners have a sense of both love and friendship. Their differences were also seen when trying to find the roles for the lesbian co-mothers (non-biological mothers), as the language and questions asked did not fit their roles. Finally, the researchers found that there needed to be a balance of asking questions and being overly assertive. Midwives could ask questions about the patients' sexuality, but asking too many questions caused discomfort in the patients.



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