Experiences of LGBTIQA+ people in preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum care

Hafford-Letchfield, Trish and Arnold, Amelia St Clair and Brown, Rhonda and McNair AM, Ruth and Permezel, Jess and Thomas, Jacob and Skouteris, Helen (2023) Experiences of LGBTIQA+ people in preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum care. Midwifery, 125. 103769. ISSN 0266-6138 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.midw.2023.103769)

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There is a cumulative body of research evidence that demonstrates that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and non-binary, queer and questioning and intersex (LGBTQI+) people experience significant health inequalities in terms of health outcomes, health care service provision and health risk factors in comparison to cis-heterosexual populations (McDermott et al, 2021). Sexual orientation, gender identity and their expression (SOGIE) are diverse and spans cultures across the world, However, globally, sixty-six jurisdictions criminalise private, consensual, same-sex sexual activity including the death penalty and at least twenty-six countries criminalise the gender identity and/or expression of trans people. People are targeted by a range of laws that criminalise same-sex activity including vagrancy, hooliganism, and public order offences (Human Dignity Trust, 2023). The Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity call for competently trained health-care providers. (International Commission of Jurists, 2017). This is not least in the field of pregnancy, birth, and maternity care where there should be an absolute commitment to develop and provide the safe spaces that LGBTQI+ people so desperately need. Adherence to the guiding principles of midwifery practice of respect and dignity for the person and their family, quality of practice, collaboration with others, professional responsibility, accountability, trust, and confidentiality are essential with these populations (Butler et al, 2018). This special issue aims to contribute to this endeavour and is focused on research, policy and practice concerning LGBTQI+ experiences of health and well-being that require specific or specialised identity-centred interventions to better support health in these specialties. The radical changes in how we create families, the advances in legislative protections, social attitudes, cultures, and technological innovations in health have all provided many different opportunities for enhancing support for LGBTIQ+ people and their families.