Rainbow families in waiting

"Regnbågsfamiljer i väntan" is a national parental supportive project run by RFSL financed by Arvsfonden. The focus of the project is LGBTQ people's specific needs during pregnancy and early parenthood, with the aim of increasing the preconditions for a more inclusive antenatal care.

Within the project “Rainbow families in waiting” RFSL will produce an inclusive book about expecting a child intended for antenatal care, hold different forms of antenatal groups for LGBTQ people led by midwives during pregnancy and produce a series of films about expecting a child and being a parent that can be shown at antenatal classes. Two midwives and two project leaders work within the project.

Here on the website we will continuously spread tips on personal treatment in the form of short texts, illustrations and film clips aimed for midwives. There’s also general information and facts about LGBTQ people’s parenthood.

The background of the project

According to the law healthcare connected to pregnancy should be equal, and antenatal care has the responsibility of supporting parents. During pregnancy all expecting parents, regardless of what the family constellation looks like, should be offered support in becoming parents. The aim of the parental support in antenatal care is to promote children’s health and development and to strengthen expecting parents in their role as parents, and prepare them for delivery. At the same time studies show that LGBTQ people have less trust in healthcare than the population in general, among other things because of experience of, and fear of, not being properly received.

During 2017 RFSL carried out a survey directed at LGBTQ people across the country who are or want to be parents. The questions were about the need for meeting spaces, support and information during the pregnancy and the first year as a parent. 645 people answered the survey. The results showed that there was a great need for inclusive information and non-normative personal reception in antenatal care.

In the autumn of 2017, Sofia Klittmark and Matias Garzón carried out a qualitative research study through via Karolinska Institutet. In their research they interviewed expecting and new LGBTQ parents about their experiences of the reproductive healthcare when becoming parents. This was the first time that the broader group of LGBTQ parents was interviewed on this topic in Sweden.

The study showed that the LGBTQ people who had the opportunity to participate in LGBTQ specific antenatal classes viewed them as a very important space to be affirmed as parents, have questions answered, have the opportunity to discuss LGBTQ specific issues and make social contacts. In the same way those who had participated in non LGBTQ specific antenatal classes had negative experiences, as it had been hard both to participate and take on board information about parenthood because of the heteronormative structure of the classes.

The conclusion of the study is that there’s a need for increased LGBTQ competency in the reproductive healthcare, and that LGBTQ specific antenatal classes can be viewed as a key element in the improvement of LGBTQ competency within reproductive healthcare.

Based on the result of these studies, RFSL has now received financing from Arvsfonden for the project “Rainbow families in waiting”. The project will run for three years, and ends in December 2021.