Freaking out about male birth attendants

(248 Posts)

I know I'll probably get pilloried for this by many people, but I am really freaking out about the prospect of having male doctors at my child's birth. I have never had a man go "down there" unless I was in a relationship with him and to have a stranger, no matter how qualified, seeing that part of me and having his hands on me, makes me feel completely sick and violated.

I chose to go to the birth centre because they only have female midwives, but I am now facing the prospect of an induction on Monday and I really really do not want a male doctor, not for any reason.

I keep hearing about how when I'm in labour I won't care, but I really feel that I would care and that it would actually interfere with my labour.

Has anybody been in that situation, not wanting a male doctor and being forced to have one, and how did you handle it?

PicandMinx Sun 27-Apr-14 00:29:43

I refuse to have male HCP for any procedure.

Insist on a female doctor. Anyone that touches you without your consent is assaulting you.

Good luck.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 27-Apr-14 00:31:17

it is true, when you are in labour and about to give birth, you won't care if its a trained monkey, honestly.
Just ask yourself if it was a choice of a male doctor/midwife etc or going it alone, what would you do?

LittleBearPad Sun 27-Apr-14 00:37:06

I'd have married my male anaesthetist at one point I was so pleased to see him.

They are doing their job. They have seen it all before and once you're in labour you probably won't care.

On the other hand if you only want female nurses then I'm sure you can request them - most midwives by a long shot are women. However if you need a doctor / anaesthetist urgently then you may have to accept who is available.

JenJoWilson Sun 27-Apr-14 00:37:06

I felt the same but during my first labour I had to have a doctor come in to check me (my labour slowed right down after having pethidine) I honestly didn't care and I am extremely prudish. I would have felt differently however if I was in the early stages and not in pain but that's just me. For my second labour I allowed a trainee male doctor in for the birth of my son. I let him hold him afterwards and it was so lovely to see him well up, he looked so proud and he'd only watched the MF do her job! smile

Morethanpotatoprints - honestly, I would prefer to go it alone than have male birth attendants.
I think it would be different with a male anaesthatist because (I think) they don't spend any time at the business end of things. Is that right?

sandgrown Sun 27-Apr-14 00:52:55

When you reach the final stage of labour you will not care if the whole England football team are there! They are health professionals who have seen it all before but sure you could ask for a female.

PatriciaHolm Sun 27-Apr-14 00:57:10

You can certainly request a male
Midwife/DR/Consultant etc. However, there is no guarantee there will be one there when you want one. So you need to make your peace with that; an emergency will need whatever staff is there, for example.
You cannot guarantee anything. Fingers crossed you get the birth your want, of course.

UseHerName Sun 27-Apr-14 01:10:28

really?I had a swiss trainee obstetrician (sp?) with me who was so kind and supportive in the presence of an abusive oh. hd camd back when his shift had finished to say I was the most hilarious labouring woman he'd ever meg and that he hoped it all worked out for me.

I also had a male midwue in scbu who was kind and gentle with both me and my baby

I had some real bastard female midwives operating with geir own agendas

don't know how gender relevant this is

It's gender relevant because I personally wouldn't be comfortable having a man present, regardless of how kind, professional, gentle etc he was. I'm not saying that female attendants are necessarily better, just that I would prefer to have a woman rather than a man.

Ploppy16 Sun 27-Apr-14 01:25:19

That's fine if that is what you would prefer. However considering risking the life of your child by 'going it alone' because the only midwife might have a own is makes you sound hysterical.

Ploppy16 Sun 27-Apr-14 01:25:45

Might have a penis. My iPad is self censoring tonight.

AvoidingEasterDIY Sun 27-Apr-14 01:31:40

Ploppy don't be so nasty. There are a lot of reasons (rape, abuse as a child, religion etc) a woman might not be comfortable having a male assisting her to give birth and given she should be as relaxed as she can be, so that should be accommodated as much as is humanly possible.

BubbleGum - ask the people involved with your care how best to go about achieving this and don't feel bad about wanting this. It's your body, at one of the most vulnerable times of your life.

BackforGood Sun 27-Apr-14 01:32:21

If you are going to a National Health Hospital, then I suggest you will get whoever is on duty at the time they are needed.
If you want to be so difficult, then you need to go privately so you can then dictate to your employee what sex they must be - although I'd have thought there could be issues with discrimination laws.

I get very cross when people forget how lucky we are here in the UK to have the NHS just there for us, and then think they can just dictate they will or won't have this, that or the other.

Ploppy - not sure why you think it's appropriate to call me hysterical when the actual question (if you read the original post) was about how to handle the situation if forced to do so. You don't have to agree with me, but slinging mud at me when this is something that genuinely makes me feel vulnerable and unhappy is pretty low.

Same goes for BackforGood. And just FYI, the discrimination laws don't apply - suggest you check your facts.

Thanks for the support AvoidingEasterDIY. I'm going to chat with the hospital on Monday to see what can be accommodated.

I would definitely say, to save yourself this worry again, if you have another child you should consider going private - if all the female doctors are busy in theatre/with other women and the only one available is male, I doubt they'll call a doctor away from someone else when your circumstances aren't 'exceptional', if you get what I mean - no declared history of rape or abuse. You'd probably have more luck making this request by going private.

It is tempting to echo that by the time you're in established labour you won't care, because it probably is true, but it's not a helpful statement so I won't bleat on and on about it at you. Personally the only male doctor I saw during the labour was the male anaesthetist who had to come and insert the syntocin drip, but that was only because I have tiny veins, they'd already tried to get the cannula into every vein in both arms (several times) and I'd started developing blockages and clots in the veins; normally your midwife will be able to fit the cannula should you need it (although I think you'll need the anaesthetist if you want an epidural, I'm not sure as I never had one - although the anaesthetist could be female, and as you say, they don't really need to see the business end).

So for the rest of the labour and delivery, I only saw female midwives and doctors, until it came to being stitched up, by which time after they'd been stitching me for an hour and still getting nowhere, they had to call in a senior consultant, who was male - but, despite being very nervous (I'd never had a proper internal examination before labour), by this point I was so off my head on gas and air and total exhilaration and joy at having my little girl, I really really really didn't give a shit and don't remember it now!

There's every chance you could get away with only having female staff, and obviously you can request it - but please be prepared that you may not get it, please don't hold it against the staff as it's a staffing level and procedure issue, not their personal agenda against you, and please don't risk your life or the baby's by going it alone! It really wouldn't be worth it - a moment's discomfort (which you may not even feel uncomfortable about at the time, I distinctly remember apologising to the doctor for not tidying up enough before giving birth, and then asking OH in front of everyone if he'd ever sleep with me again now that it had been shredded; dignity = gone!), forgotten almost instantly, and almost certainly won't bother you after the birth.

Don't forget you can request minimal examinations even if you're being induced. They only examined me once, four hours after breaking my waters.

Best of luck, hope this doesn't come across too harsh or dismissive - I really do sympathise! thanks

ZingWatermelon Sun 27-Apr-14 01:53:16

first gynecologist appointment when I was 15 (and a virgin) was a man.
never bothered me.
he was my gynaecologist for 8 years. great doctor, amazing knowledge - if I hadn't left Hungary he probably would've delivered my babies as he did for friends of mine.

When DS1 was born by forceps there were so many people in the room I lost count. some were men, including the guy who dragged him outi honestly couldn't care less, I just wanted the whole thing to be over.

I don't see what the fuss is about.
man or woman, if they do a good job that's all that matters.

And I suggest for anyone who has issues about this to not watch "The hand that rocks the cradle"wink

I think you should contact the Supervisor of Midwives at your hospital and talk to her about your feelings. You won't be the first person she has had this conversation with and she will be able to talk you through what is definitely achievable and how you and your midwife can handle the situation if it is not feasible to exclude men entirely for some reason.
Good luck.

greenwinter Sun 27-Apr-14 02:01:47

Zing - It doesn't matter if you don't care if it is a woman or man, the OP does.

Moomin - thanks that has been very helpful. Of course I wouldn't hold it against the staff, I know that it's not always in their control, but to the extent it is, then I think it's reasonable for my wishes to be accommodated.

I really appreciate all of the helpful, sympathetic comments - I'm a first time mum, overdue, emotional, can't sleep and panicky about this issue.

ZingWatermelon Sun 27-Apr-14 02:19:30

green

ok.
perhaps I shouldn't have posted.
I think I'm an understanding person but this is one of those topics when I question why people have to fuss about it.
"oh a man other than my baby's father might see my fanjo"
so what? who cares? get over it.
some woman delivered her child on a bus, another few in cabs by total and complete strangers.
or firemen.
or farmers. or whoever.
thankfully mothers and their children were safe and looked after and lived.
Isn't that the only thing that really matters?!

there are more important problems and worries when giving birth than whether the MW/surgeon/doctor/nurse has a penis or not.
sheesh.

sorry OP, but you have to grow up and stop worrying about it.
male HPs will see you as a patient and nothing else.

Zing - you're quite correct. You shouldn't have posted.

ZingWatermelon Sun 27-Apr-14 02:23:26

miaow

greenwinter Sun 27-Apr-14 02:25:07

You deserved that Zing - totally

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