Inclusive Language in the Maternal World

Hey M+W babes!

Now more than ever are we living in a world where people aren’t scared of being who they are [mostly] and thankfully, society has started shifted to make space for these individuals who before didn’t fit into the “normal” standard. Although progress has been made, we still have a long way to go– especially when it comes to bodily anatomy and inclusive language.

Language can connect and isolate people. It can calm them or it can be a point of contention and anxiety. It can allow people to be seen or people to feel erased or invisible. You may not know the sexuality, gender expression, or family make-up so always error on the side of caution and do not assume all the pregnant people are Mums and that there are Dads in the picture.

As a Doula I feel extremely privileged to have the platform to advocate for my clients [I hate saying clients because really they become family] and educate other health care workers about inclusive language. When you feel respected you feel safe, and during this life changing journey that’s part of our end goal– to make you feel prepared, safe, and respected.

Before I give you some great examples of how to switch up your language to be inclusive, I want to remind you that SEX and GENDER are NOT the same thing. This can be tricky when, like I said above, you’re dealing with bodily anatomy but if you’re ever in doubt just ask what language the individual wants you to use!

Potential Triggers/TopicsSay This Instead
ContractionSurges, waves, sensations
Fetal distressChanges in the baby’s heart rate pattern
The birthing persons’s bodyYour body knows what to do
Family make-up [mom, dad]Parents, birthing people, birth parents, those that are pregnant, partners if you have one
Rupture, BreakRelease of Membranes
Time [you have been at this for 8 hours now]Hiding the clock/ no reference to time
Addressing Clients – use their name, loop them into conversations, don’t talk about them like they are not in the room(Client’s name) is now 7 cm dilated

Some examples of inclusive phrases:

“For those of you choosing to breast/chest feed….”

“For those birthing people with partners….”

It’s important to allow space for correction and education when you’re dealing with different diversities. Sometimes you can mean well but you can’t control how it lands within the recipient, so make sure your communication is open and honest.

I hope you were able to take something valuable away from this post!

Remember that I offer FREE virtual Doula consultations! Book one here.

I love hearing from you– so please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, feedback, or concerns you may be experiencing.

Stay well + stay smiling loves!

Published by Nicole

I’m Nicole & if you couldn’t tell by the name of this blog I love all thing that are cosy, warm, and bring you a sense of hygge.

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