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Sexual Minority Birthing People Highly Engage in Obstetric Care

However, they face high risk for postpartum depression

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Aug. 3, 2023 (HealthDay News) — Sexual minority women are highly engaged in obstetric care, according to a study published online Aug. 2 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Leiszle Lapping-Carr, Ph.D., from Northwestern University in Chicago, and colleagues examined the prevalence of female-identified sexual minority people giving birth in an academic medical center during 2019 and compared perinatal depression screening rates and scores among sexual minority women and heterosexual cisgender women. The analysis included 18,243 birthing people.

The researchers found that 1.5 percent of birthing people identified as having sexual minority status (including women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, queer, pansexual, asexual, demisexual, and kinky, as well as other-identified women who have sex with women) in the medical record. Compared with heterosexual women, significantly more sexual minority women attended at least one prenatal care visit (13.7 versus 20.0 percent) and at least one postpartum care visit (12.8 versus 18.6 percent). Depression screening was more likely among sexual minority women receiving postpartum care (odds ratio [OR], 1.77; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.22 to 2.52; P = 0.002) and they were more likely to screen positive for depression during the postpartum period (OR, 2.38; 95 percent CI, 0.99 to 5.02; P = 0.03) compared with heterosexual women.

“These results highlight the need for investigations that include strategies for measuring sexual orientation because medical record review is unlikely to reliably capture these sexual identities during the perinatal period,” the authors write.

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