Review article

Archives of Women's Mental Health

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 67-73

First online:

Lesbian perinatal depression and the heterosexism that affects knowledge about this minority population

  • S. TrettinAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • , E. L. Moses-KolkoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • , K. L. WisnerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

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The medical literature about homosexuality and mental health is expanding; however, a paucity of research about lesbian mental health remains. No research about lesbian perinatal depression has been published. This paper highlights the heterosexism that perpetuates research and health care disparities between heterosexual and lesbian/gay/bisexual individuals. We acknowledge barriers that distance lesbian women from research and health care, and emphasize the importance of moving beyond these barriers to fill in gaps of knowledge about the specific health care needs of this minority population. We use an analysis of stress factors as a framework to generate hypotheses about perinatal depression in lesbian women. We conclude with suggestions for future study in the form of questions that should be asked and pursued in research.

Keywords: Lesbian; pregnancy; depression.