The barriers and needs of transgender men in pregnancy and childbirth: A qualitative interview study

J. E. van Amesfoort, F. B. van Rooij, R. C. Painter, A. W. Valkenburg-van den Berg, B. P. C. Kreukels, T. D. Steensma, J. A. F. Huirne, C. J. M. de Groot, N. M. van Mello*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objective: Transgender and gender diverse individuals are individuals whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth. The discordance between gender identity and sex assignment may cause significant psychological distress: gender dysphoria. Transgender individuals may choose to undergo gender-affirming hormone treatment or surgery, but some decide to (temporarily) refrain from surgery and gender affirming hormone treatment and hence retain the possibility to become pregnant. Pregnancy may enhance feelings of gender dysphoria and isolation. To improve perinatal care for transgender individuals and their health care providers, we conducted interviews to explore the needs and barriers of transgender men in family planning, pregnancy, childbirth, puerperium and perinatal care. Design: In this qualitative study five in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with Dutch transgender men who had given birth while identifying on the transmasculine spectrum. The interviews were conducted online through a video remote-conferencing software program (n=4) or live (n=1). Interviews were transcribed verbatim. An inductive approach was used to find patterns and collect data from the participants’ narratives and constant comparative method was adapted in analysing the interviews. Measurements and findings: The experiences of transgender men regarding the preconception period, pregnancy and puerperium and with perinatal care varied widely. Though all participants expressed overall positive experiences, their narratives emphasized they had to overcome substantial hurdles pursuing pregnancy. For instance the necessity to prioritise becoming pregnant over gender transitioning, lack of support by healthcare providers and increased gender dysphoria and isolation during pregnancy Key conclusions: Since pregnancy in transgender men enhances feelings of gender dysphoria, transgender men comprise a vulnerable group in perinatal care. Health care providers are perceived as feeling unaccustomed for the care of transgender patients, as they are perceived to often lack the right tools and knowledge to provide adequate care. Our findings help strengthen the foundation of insight in the needs and hurdles of transgender men pursuing pregnancy and therefore may guide health care providers to provide equitable perinatal care, and emphasize the necessity of patient-centred gender-inclusive perinatal care. A guideline including the option for consultation of an expertise center is advised to facilitate patient-centered gender-inclusive perinatal care.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103620
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023

Cite this