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Heteronormative communication with lesbian families inantenatal care, childbirth and postnatal care
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Health, Activity, Care. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences.
Uppsala University Hospital.
Uppsala University Hospital.
2009 (English)In: Journal of Advanced Nursing, ISSN 0309-2402, Vol. 65, no 9Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Aim. This paper is a report of a study of lesbian parents' experience of antenatal care, childbirth and postnatal care.

Background. In a strictly heteronormative-based care system, 'parents' naturally implies a man and a woman, and all communication and routines are based on heterosexual couples.

Method. A qualitative interview study was carried out in 2008. Ten mothers, eight of whom were in a relationship with another woman, participated. The participants had experience from several care facilities from three different cities in central Sweden.

Findings. Most participants had positive experiences but also complained that the focus was not always on the pregnancy and that no parenthood education had been offered. Heteronormativity was communicated by midwives and nursing staff throughout the process – from antenatal care to postnatal care, via forms, journals, verbal communication and orientation visits. This was experienced as embarrassing for the participant parents, and they also described encountering what they interpreted as embarrassment on the part of care providers. Participants called for increased knowledge about lesbian parenting, since they believed this would influence and facilitate communication, not least with midwives in antenatal care.

Conclusion. Midwives educated in lesbian issues could ask questions and communicate in a more neutral way at the first meeting, and thereby make prospective parents feel less insecure. Special parenthood education groups for lesbians are recommended so that lesbian couple can meet others with similar experiences and so that the focus will be on prospective parenthood and not on their sexual orientation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd , 2009. Vol. 65, no 9
Keyword [en]
antenatal care • childbirth • communication • heteronormativity • lesbian families • midwifery • postnatal care
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-20809DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2009.05092.xOAI: diva2:236178
This is the Authors’ version of the following article: Gerd Röndahl, Elisabeth Bruhner and Jenny Lindhe, Heteronormative communication with lesbian families inantenatal care, childbirth and postnatal care, 2009, Journal of Advanced Nursing, (65), 9. which has been published in final form at: Copyright: Blackwell Publishing Ltd Available from: 2009-09-21 Created: 2009-09-21 Last updated: 2010-01-18

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