Valuing, respecting, and affirming an individual’s identity contribute to improved health outcomes, and the language used to communicate with individuals about themselves and their communities plays a critical role in affirming identity.

As the leading medical organization dedicated to the health of all individuals in need of gynecologic and obstetric care, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) acknowledges the effect language has on individuals and populations. To be inclusive of women and all patients in need of obstetric and gynecologic care, ACOG will move beyond the exclusive use of gendered language and definitions. This change includes integrating language that reflects the broad spectrum of gender identities into ACOG guidance, resources, and communications in order to improve the quality of care for all patients, including those who identify as women and those who do not.

ACOG’s clinical guidance; its journal, Obstetrics & Gynecology; and other resources and communications will use inclusive language to recognize and affirm all people who seek and receive care from obstetrician–gynecologists. This ongoing process will require reconciliation of existing guidance and policies, which will remain in circulation until they are updated.

ACOG recognizes the limitations of applying inclusive language when source material, such as published studies, uses gender-binary terms and descriptors. ACOG’s clinical guidance will continue to describe data based on the descriptions reported by study investigators and researchers. ACOG calls on researchers to diversify studies by including gender-expansive participants and to report study participant characteristics inclusively by using language beyond traditional binary descriptors.

Additional Resources

ACOG Committee Opinion on Health Care for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Individuals

ACOG Policy Priorities: Transgender Care

Approved by the Board of Directors February 2022