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Perinatal mental health in lesbian mothers: a review of potential risk and protective factors.

Abstract

Postpartum depression and other perinatal mental illnesses are common complications of childbirth. The majority of research on these conditions has been conducted in heterosexual women; however, increasing numbers of women are choosing to parent in the context of lesbian relationships. Although many of the fundamental aspects of the transition to parenthood are shared between lesbian and heterosexual mothers, lesbian mothers may differ from heterosexual parents on a number of variables that have been previously associated with perinatal mental health. Lesbian mothers may be more likely than their heterosexual peers to lack social support, particularly from their families of origin, and may be exposed to additional stress due to homophobic discrimination. However, the likelihood that lesbian pregnancies will be planned, together with the relatively equal division of child-care labour observed in lesbian couples, may offer protection from perinatal depression. The study of perinatal mental health in lesbian mothers is warranted, both to ensure that the mental health needs of this largely invisible population are being met, and to further illuminate the role of psychosocial stress in perinatal mental health in all women.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    Wome's Mental Health & Addiction Research Section, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health, and Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 250 College St, Room 601A, Toronto, ON, M5T 1R8, Canada. l.ross@utoronto.ca

    Source

    Women & health 41:3 2005 pg 113-28

    MeSH

    Adult
    Depression, Postpartum
    Female
    Homosexuality, Female
    Humans
    Maternal Welfare
    Parenting
    Perinatal Care
    Pregnancy
    Prejudice
    Risk Factors
    Social Support
    Women's Health

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Review

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    15970579

    Citation

    TY - JOUR T1 - Perinatal mental health in lesbian mothers: a review of potential risk and protective factors. A1 - Ross,Lori E, PY - 2005/6/23/pubmed PY - 2006/1/25/medline PY - 2005/6/23/entrez SP - 113 EP - 28 JF - Women & health JO - Women Health VL - 41 IS - 3 N2 - Postpartum depression and other perinatal mental illnesses are common complications of childbirth. The majority of research on these conditions has been conducted in heterosexual women; however, increasing numbers of women are choosing to parent in the context of lesbian relationships. Although many of the fundamental aspects of the transition to parenthood are shared between lesbian and heterosexual mothers, lesbian mothers may differ from heterosexual parents on a number of variables that have been previously associated with perinatal mental health. Lesbian mothers may be more likely than their heterosexual peers to lack social support, particularly from their families of origin, and may be exposed to additional stress due to homophobic discrimination. However, the likelihood that lesbian pregnancies will be planned, together with the relatively equal division of child-care labour observed in lesbian couples, may offer protection from perinatal depression. The study of perinatal mental health in lesbian mothers is warranted, both to ensure that the mental health needs of this largely invisible population are being met, and to further illuminate the role of psychosocial stress in perinatal mental health in all women. SN - 0363-0242 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/15970579/Perinatal_mental_health_in_lesbian_mothers:_a_review_of_potential_risk_and_protective_factors_ L2 - http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J013v41n03_07?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed ER -