Researching for LGBTQ Health

Mothering on the Margins

Mothering on the Margins

Funded by CIHR, The Mothering on the Margins (MOMs) project was a research study carried out by researchers at CAMH and the LGBTQ Parenting Network. The goals of this research were (a) to learn about the factors that contribute to emotional well being in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and Two-Spirit (LGBT) mothers and mothers-to-be, and (b) to learn what services LGBT mothers and mothers-to-be find helpful, and what services they wish existed, to address their emotional needs.

A total of 64 women participated in the study; including women who were trying to conceive, pregnant women, and biological and non-biological mothers of children under one year of age. Participants completed self-administered surveys assessing health and mental health issues, family and parenting issues, as well as social issues such as discrimination. Interviews were held with 20 of the participants to further investigate mental health issues and support and service utilization and needs.

From the MOMs study, we learned that:

  • Perinatal depression is not less common and may be more common among lesbian and bisexual women relative to heterosexual women.
  • Experiences of discrimination affect mental health, and this is particularly significant for women who experience multiple forms of discrimination.
  • Lesbian and bisexual women face significant barriers in accessing fertility services and pre- and postnatal care.


  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Lori Ross
  • Co-Investigators: Dr. Leah Steele, Rachel Epstein, Dr. Carol Strike, Dr. Brenda Toner and Dr. Meir Steiner
  • Research Assistant: Cheryl Dobinson


Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Gender and Health

Project Outcomes: