Midwifery and Trans* Health Care

I woke up this morning to see this awesome piece of news:

ACNM has issued a position statement outlining their commitment to proving safe, culturally competent care for trans* people.

“It is the position of ACNM that midwives

  • Exhibit respect for patients with nonconforming gender identities and do not pathologize differences in gender identity or expression;
  • Provide care in a manner that affirms patients’ gender identities and reduces the distress of gender dysphoria or refer to knowledgeable colleagues;
  • Become knowledgeable about the health care needs of transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming people, including the benefits and risks of gender affirming treatment options;
  • Match treatment approaches to the specific needs of patients, particularly their goals for gender expression and need for relief from gender dysphoria;
  • Have resources available to support and advocate for patients within their families and communities (schools, workplaces, and other settings).”

The statement then outlines the ways in which they plan to ensure this care is possible:

“To facilitate these goals, ACNM is committed to

  • Work toward the incorporation of information about gender identity, expression, and development in all midwifery educational programs;
  • Make available educational materials that address the identities and health care needs of gender variant individuals in order to improve midwives’ cultural competence in providing care to this population;
  • Support legislation and policies that prohibit discrimination based on gender expression or identity;
  • Support measures to ensure full, equal, and unrestricted access to health insurance coverage for all care needed by gender variant individuals.”

I will be the first to admit that I still have a lot to learn about trans-health care…but I am thrilled to see ACNM take a stand and voice a commitment not only to providing quality care, but also highlighting the education gaps that student midwives currently experience in their training around trans-health issues.

As a future midwifery student, I am looking forward to scoping out opportunities to increase my understanding, compassion, and competence in providing quality midwifery care for any trans* people I may serve. I would love to be able to do a clinical rotation here, for example, or someplace providing similar care. I also really, really want to attend the Philly Trans-Health Conference in June…we’ll have to see how the timing works out, though.


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