Monday, 23 May, 2022
HomeNews UpdateUK midwives angered by trans terminology replacing anatomical terms

UK midwives angered by trans terminology replacing anatomical terms

Maternity staff in Sussex hospitals, England, have described new terminology rules as “ridiculous” but are too scared to speak out.

The guidance issued by the health chiefs discourages midwives from saying “vagina” when dealing with pregnant transgender patients, and forms part of a new policy on perinatal care – previously known as maternity services – for transgender and non-binary people.

In addition, the trust had told staff the words breast milk could be replaced with “human milk”, “breast/chest milk” or “milk from the feeding mother or parent”.

Daily Mail reports that in the care guide from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, midwives and obstetricians are told: “Some individuals may have preferred terminology for their anatomy. These should be used wherever possible. For example, some people may talk about ‘front hole’ or ‘genital opening’ rather than ‘vagina’.”

Staff are encouraged to record these requested terms on a document called “My Language Preferences”.

This has a list of anatomical parts such as cervix, uterus and breasts, alongside a column where the preferred words can be written.

The guidelines add that maternity care has typically been designed as a “women-only service”, which may not serve the needs of “trans” and “non-binary” individuals who identify as neither male or female.

Pregnant transgender patients should be treated according to their “self-identified gender” rather than their birth sex, and should be offered “pronoun stickers” to wear, advising staff how to address them.

A midwife at the trust said many maternity staff are unhappy but fear speaking out. “It’s a policy relating to very few people and they think it’s ridiculous but because of the climate at the hospital they dare not say anything.”

Kat Barber, founder of campaign group Sex Not Gender Nurses and Midwives, warned: “There can be a risk in using words that are not anatomically correct because these are ambiguous.”


Daily Mail article – Maternity madness! Midwives are urged to avoid using proper words for anatomy so trans patients won't be upset (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


UK hospital tells police patient ‘could not have been raped’ since attacker was transgender


New NHS guidelines: Transgender patients may choose male or female wards


NHS staff must quiz all patients on sexual orientation


NHS guidelines: Trans sex offenders may be admitted to female-only wards



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