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Pregnant Trans Men Face Barriers Within the Health Care System

Trans man in hospital

Transgender men who become pregnant are at increased risk for depression and challenges within the health care system according to a study by Maturitas.

“The process of transitioning is long and arduous,” Justin Brandt, the lead author of the study and an assistant clinical professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, told Futurity.  “Pregnancy, which is regarded as a feminine condition, forces these men to almost fully transition back to their sex assigned at birth, which can worsen gender dysphoria.” 

Some 1.4 million people have transitioned in the United States, some of whom have done so publicly. This means there’s been a drastic uptick in visibility. Still, as Brandt points out, “medical providers are largely unprepared to care for them,” misgendering patients while providing care can cause anxiety among those within the trans community — which leads to disengagement from patients. Last year a study in the February edition of Annals of Emergency found that nearly half (43.8%) of transgender people reported avoiding hospitals when they needed medical attention.

In terms of reproductive health care, the U.S. medical system records pregnant trans men as female patients, meaning there is no existing data on how many transgender men give birth each year. But, of this unknown number, which Brandt says is likely higher than people think, research indicates that about 30% are unintended pregnancies.

Data on how transgender men give birth is limited, however the study found that 64 percent had vaginal births and 25 percent requested cesarean delivery. Transgender men who had cesarean deliveries reported feeling uncomfortable with their genitalia being exposed for long periods of time while those who went through labor said that the process of giving birth vaginally overcame any negative feelings that they had with the female gender that they had been assigned at birth.


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