Is Your Maternity Care Provider LGBTQ-Friendly?
You have probably seen us sharing information quite a few times during our time of business on how to find a great OB-GYN or midwife who supports and respects your needs and wishes during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. However, for Pride Month, we want to dig a little deeper and help uncover some more information for a population that may be underserved.
Why Do We Need LGBTQ-Friendly OB-GYNs and Midwives?
According to the National Institute on Minority Health & Health Disparities, LGBTQ people are considered to be a population with a “health disparity”. There are several factors which go into this, including fear of stigma, reduced access to health care services, and trauma from a past bad experience with a discriminatory provider. No matter who we are, where we live, or what we look like, we must all be able to have access to a health care provider who is not only willing to serve our particular needs, but also be affirming and experienced in those needs.
What Questions Should I Ask to Determine if My Provider is LGBTQ-Friendly?
When you are interviewing doctors and midwives to provide your maternity care, in many cases you will be able to experience a “gut feeling” that can tell you whether or not you are with a safe provider. We also have some suggestions on questions to ask and behaviors to observe, to help you determine if you have found the right provider for you.
- Do they remember and correctly use your pronouns?
- Do they remember and correctly use your preferred names for your body parts?
- Do they use a lot of broad assumptions (for example, asking “where is your husband?”)
- Do they maintain open and friendly body language and manner when you express your identity?
- Do they apologize and correct course when you correct them on your identity, living situation, pronouns, etc.?
- Are they willing to seek education or consult with other providers if they aren’t familiar with your particular needs?
While a lack of gender-neutral terminology on a provider’s website and marketing materials does not necessarily always mean that they are a poor fit for an LGBTQ parent, keeping an eye out for this type of language, as well as marketing photos of different types of family makeup, is often a good indicator that this provider has done their research and is welcoming of and educated about caring for LGBTQ patients.
Other Ways to Find LGBTQ-Friendly Maternity Care Providers
Because visiting and interviewing a variety of doctors and midwives is not a viable option for every person, it’s a good idea to do a little research beforehand and gather information to help you narrow down your choices. Here are a few ideas of where to look for tips from other parents who have used LGBTQ-friendly providers.
- Facebook parent groups – your local group’s members can recommend someone they have used or personally know
- Qspaces App to Find/Rate/Review Healthcare Providers