Trans and non-binary pregnancy, traumatic birth and perinatal mental health: A scoping review

Mari Greenfield, Zoe Darwin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Background
Many trans and non-binary people wish to be parents. However, few countries record figures for trans and non-binary people becoming pregnant/impregnating their partners. Pregnant non-binary people and trans men may be growing populations, with heightened vulnerabilities to traumatic birth and perinatal mental health difficulties (i.e. pregnancy-one year postpartum).

Aim
To conduct a scoping review on traumatic birth and perinatal mental health in trans and non-binary people to identify research evidence, summarize findings and identify gaps.

Methods
Electronic databases were searched to identify published English-language evidence. Eligibility was not restricted by type of study, country, or date.

Findings
All studies were from the Global North and most participants were white. The literature focuses on structural and psychological barriers faced by non-binary people and trans men and on the lack of reliable medical information available. There is a lack of empirical research and, to date, no research into trans and non-binary parents’ experiences has focused on traumatic birth or perinatal mental health. However, common themes of dysphoria, visibility, isolation, and the importance of individualized respectful care indicate potential vulnerability factors. Trans women’s and non-binary people’s experiences are particularly under-researched.

Discussion
The themes of dysphoria, visibility, and isolation present a series of challenges to pregnant non-binary people and trans men. These coalesce with external events and internal choices, creating the potential to make the individual feel not man enough, not trans enough, not pregnant enough, and not safe enough during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum. Further research involving trans people is needed to inform future services.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Transgenderism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Oct 2020

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