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CHILDBEARING AMONG LESBIANS: Are We Meeting Their Needs?

Authors

  • Eileen Olesker CNM,

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    • Eileen Olesker received her RN from Union Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1969, and her nurse midwifery certificate from Downstate Medical Center. She is an Assistant Editor of the Journal of Nurse Midwifery and codirector and founder of the Baltimore Birth Center.

  • Linda V. Walsh CNM, MPH

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    • Linda V. Walsh received her BSN from the University of Connecticut, and her MPH and nurse-midwifery education from Johns Hopkins University. She is one of the founders and codirectors of the Baltimore Birth Center, Baltimore, Maryland.


Baltimore Birth Center, 6006 Park Heights Ave., Baltimore, MD 21215.

ABSTRACT

Parenthood for lesbians is an alternative family structure appearing with increasing frequency, but there is a lack of documentation of the unique needs of this population and the effect of societal attitudes on the provision of health care to these women. Using a survey with 74 open-ended questions, the authors found that their sample population did seek care in the traditional health care system, but felt improvements could be made within that system. Participants felt a need for health care providers to educate themselves about lesbian life-styles and lesbian health care issues. Although the participants would prefer to receive care from a provider who happened to be lesbian, even more important was a provider with an open, supportive attitude. As a pilot study, this survey aids in developing an instrument appropriate for assessing the self-perceived needs of this target population.

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