Midwives told to stop using terms like ‘breastfeeding’ in Trans-friendly rule

Midwives at a hospital trust have been told to stop using terms like "breastfeeding" and "maternal" as part of a new trans-friendly initiative.

The terms are to be substituted for phrases like "birthing parents" or "chest feeding" in a bid to support gender-inclusive language.

A policy document also said staff would be encouraged to replace the word "woman" with the phrase "woman or person."

Father should also be considered to be swapped out with the word "parent," "co-parent" or "second biological parent," depending on circumstances.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospital will be the first in the country to implement the gender include language policy.

The language policy will be rolled out in the NHS Trust's maternity department, which will now be known as "perinatal services."

Staff have not been told to not use the words, but have been told they should consciously start adding in the word "people" and other inclusive language.

The policy document said gender identity "can be a source of oppression and health inequality" and the trust is "committed to work on addressing health inequalities."

It added that the focus will be on "improving access and health outcomes for marginalised and disadvantaged groups."

The document reportedly said: "Gender identity can be a source of oppression and health inequality. We are consciously using the words 'women' and 'people' together to make it clear that we are committed to working on addressing health inequalities for all those who use our services.

"As midwives and birth workers, we focus on improving access and health outcomes for marginalised and disadvantaged groups.

Women are frequently disadvantaged in healthcare, as are trans and non-binary people… By continuing to use the term 'woman' we commit to working on addressing health inequalities for all who use our services.

"We also recognise that there is currently biological essentialism and transphobia present within elements of mainstream birth narratives and discourse.

"We strive to protect our trans and non-binary service users and healthcare professionals from additional persecution as a consequence of terminology changes, recognising the significant impact this can have on psychological and emotional wellbeing.

"Acknowledging the cultural context in which service development occurs is vital in making trans and non-binary lives safer."

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In a statement released on Twitter, BSUH Maternity services said: "We want everybody who uses our services to see themselves reflected in the language that we use. This means not only pregnant women, but also pregnant trans, non-binary and a gender people.

"Our chosen approach to inclusive language is additive rather than neutral."

Language will also be amended on the trust's webpages, leaflets and communications such as letters and emails.

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