Research Snapshot: Childbearing and Birth Experiences in Polyamorous Families

A summary of results from the POLYamorous Childbearing and Birth Experiences Study.
March 29, 2022

Download (PDF)

Polyamorous relationships are increasingly being recognized in Canada, but there is little research on their family dynamics and experiences.

This Research Snapshot provides a summary of findings from a qualitative study of the childbearing and birth experiences in polyamorous families.

In this study, researchers interviewed 24 polyamorous people – some who had recently given birth and some who were their partners – to learn about their families and their experiences with pregnancy and childbirth. The main themes that emerged were the open and deliberate nature of family planning and decision-making; more plentiful support but also greater complexity in decision-making due to more people being involved; complex and ongoing decision-making related to disclosure of their polyamory; and conflict with or exclusion from aspects of social systems designed for monogamous couples/families. The researchers also built a glossary of emerging language and terms related to polyamory, which is available online.

This research builds on our growing understanding of the Family Structure component of the Vanier Institute’s Family Diversities Framework.

Study citation: Landry, S., Arseneau, E., & Darling, E. K. (2021). “It’s a little bit tricky”: Results from the POLYamorous Childbearing and Birth Experiences Study (POLYBABES). Archives of Sexual Behavior, 50(4), 1479–1490. DOI: 10.1007/s10508-021-02025-5

Learn more about family diversity in Canada

Scroll to Top