A study led by Justin Brandt, Assistant Professor at Rutgers University, there is a lack of awareness amidst medical providers. Researchers say are unprepared to care for pregnant transgender men due to limited educational opportunities. This is despite the fact that the visibility of transgender people has increased. More than 1.4 million have transitioned in the U.S alone. This is why pregnant transgender men are at an elevated risk of depression.
There is a potential to become pregnant in cases of transgender men who have transitioned hormonally but still retain female reproductive organs. The U.S. medical system tracks these patients as females. Therefore, there is no data present on how many transgender men give birth each year. The number is probably higher than people realize. Many of them don’t even plan to ever get pregnant. However, unintended pregnancies occur in almost 30% of transgender men.
Specifics of the Rutgers’ Study
The findings, published in the journal Maturitas, examined healthcare research on transgender men who become pregnant aged 35 or more, to determine their medical and mental health needs. The data is limited on how transgender men give birth. The review found that 64% had vaginal births and 25% requested cesarean delivery. For cesarean deliveries, reports of feeling uncomfortable for exposing genitalia for long were filed. Those who went through labor said overcame any negative feelings that they had with the female gender.
Nearly 40% of the 28,000 respondents reported attempting suicide — nearly nine times the national average. Moreover, 25% of transgender people reported negative health care experiences in the last year. This is in correlation with 44% of pregnant transgender men who seek medical care outside of traditional care with an obstetrician. More than 17% of them deliver outside of hospitals. This is a higher rate than with women.
They also found out that about 51 percent of transgender men breast or chest fed their infants even if they had breast surgery. It recommends that they should have routine check-ups with doctors before getting pregnant. They need specific counseling on the risks of advanced-age pregnancy, such as infertility, miscarriage, gestational diabetes, and preterm delivery. They also need updates that have lapsed during the transition. These include pap smears, chest surgeries, mammograms etc.
The study also states: The process of transitioning is long and arduous and pregnancy and often is regarded as a feminine condition. It forces these men to almost fully transition back to their sex assigned at birth, which can worsen gender dysphoria.