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Male midwives - can you refuse?

(54 Posts)
thomasina1 Thu 06-Nov-08 08:36:33

I didn't think this bothered me but I recently came across a male midwife during a tour of my birthing centre and I have realised that I really wouldn't feel comfortable with a man delivering my baby.

I know this may be very un-PC and unfair on the men who are probably very good midwives, but ultimately my primary concern is for me to be in a state in which I am as relaxed as possible so that my labour progresses well.

So can I specify that I want a woman caring for me? That's assuming of course that there is one on the shift!! Has anyone come across this?

belgo Thu 06-Nov-08 08:42:13

I'm sure you can ask for a female midwife, but what if you end up with a male doctor delivering your baby?

thomasina1 Thu 06-Nov-08 08:53:15

I know - I am aware that any obstetricians are likely to be male! I realise my logic is a bit twisted...

I suppose it's for the continual support/encouragement side of the delivery that I'd prefer a woman. But maybe I just need to get my head round it!

frasersmummy Thu 06-Nov-08 08:55:39

you can refuse any midwife for any reason

wont go into details as to why here but they offered me a midwife mid labour (shift change)andI burst into tears and saidno not her..dh stepped in and told them I would be more comfortable with someone else.

Wasnt a problem ..they just said ok and swapped the team around

littleducks Thu 06-Nov-08 08:55:40

you can request a female midwife (and fwiw a female dr) thdey will do their best to accomodate you, will probably be far easier to arrange a female midwife than dr and if a dr is required you are probably in more 'urgent' need

belgo Thu 06-Nov-08 08:55:51

I would discuss it with your midwife first, but I'm sure they've had this request before and I imagine it wouldn't be a problem asking for a female midwife, unless there happened to be a midwife shortage that day.

Ineedmorechocolatenow Thu 06-Nov-08 08:57:41

I was told on my tour that you could request a female midwife. I did have a female midwife, and a female doctor deliver DS. I, like you, would have felt uncomfortable. I hated the idea of a strange man having to touch me and look 'down there'.

Not sure whether or not you've had a baby before, but I can say that by the time I got to labour I couldn't have given a flying-monkey who looked 'down there'! I was in so much pain and was so desperate for it to all be over, I would have dragged 50 men off the street to have a good gawp if it'd meant it would all be over!! grin

Ineedmorechocolatenow Thu 06-Nov-08 09:00:14

Oh, and until the grand finale, they don't even look down there at all really. They probably examined me twice in ten hours to see how dilated I was. You could always request a female midwife to do this part if you ended up with a male midwife....

aurorec Thu 06-Nov-08 13:34:29

I'm sure they get tons of mothers to be requesting female MWs- must be a very common request.
Saying that when I had my membrane sweep prior to birth, the consultant was a man and he had the softest gentle hands ever. It barely hurt!
As opposed to the female MW who examined me during labour. grin

Lib76 Thu 06-Nov-08 16:40:48

being a nurse i have worked with many a male nurse and they are just as good as us girls!! Ok, i lie they can't multi-task so well (cheeky snigger) but really the male midwives will probably be gay anyway!! (oh what a generalisation, sorry guys!! wink) and not give two hoots about looking at your bits. As said before your consultant will probably be a man anyway. At the end of day as long as you have got someone who is kind and caring at put ayou at ease that's all the matters and if you don't want a bloke there then that's cool!! But i bet they would give you a good laugh during the contractions [thinking ouch!!]

frazzledoldbag34 Mon 10-Nov-08 08:49:34

Just a thought - in my experiences male doctors can be much more sympathetic and gentle with you than female ones!

I also used to go out with a male midwife (briefly many years ago) and he was an absolute love - and probably far nicer to ladies in labour than some of the old school bossy women midwives I've come across. I suspect to be a male midwfie he'd have to be pretty well in touch with his feminine side!!

But in answer to your question you can refuse any midwife at the time so just see how you feel.
Good luck x

NellyTheElephant Mon 10-Nov-08 20:15:47

As others have said you can definitely request a female miwife (and doctors). Do give it a bit of thought though. I had female midwives, but when DD1 went into distress suddenly loads of people turned up - mainly men. My (male) consultant and registrar (and god knows who - a couple of male students I think), were all absolutely fabulous and reassuring and lovely, most of them all had to have a good look and feel down there and discuss it at length and take blood tests from DD1's head and yet I didn't mind one bit, I was so relieved to be in good hands and looked after and reassured. I think you often imagine you would feel one way but in practice (especially in labour when every thought you've ever had in your head goes straight out of the window) you might feel differently. Maybe if you met the male midwife first and liked and trusted him you might be comfortable with it?

blueshoes Mon 10-Nov-08 21:12:26

I have heard lovely things about male midwives, gentle - good stitching, respectful of women's bodies. I think they can be really really good - you would have to be dedicated in the face of opposition. Yes, just think of them as gay, rightly or wrongly.

pudding25 Mon 10-Nov-08 23:25:03

If anyone would have suggested to me before dd was born that I would have a male midwife, I would have said not in a million years. When he truned up though, I didn't bay an eyelid and boy, was he amazing. Funny, kind, helpful, everything you could possibly imagine. (and I don't think he was gay grin

poshwellies Mon 10-Nov-08 23:30:28

I had a male midwife with ds-he was lovely throughout my pregnancy,couldn't fault him.I was disapointed when I went into labour and he wasn't on shift and couldn't be there at the birth.He was utterly respectful.

Snufflebufty Thu 13-Nov-08 22:44:16

I had a male student doctor in the labour ward and I actually said to him that he looked about 12 years old hehehe. I had big worries about who would see my fanjo once I was in labour and can honestly say I couldnt give a hoot who was looking up there once labour took affect. After having my feet in stirrups and having various female doctors sitting in between my legs doing various things, I forgot I even had anything to hide! I was mortified when at one point, one of the midwives said to the student doctor to 'come closer, you wont see anything from there!' and made him sit at the bottom of the bed!! I apologised to him. My DP said it was the student's first birth............ oh dear!! Ah well, he was really nice and even stayed on after he should have finished so he could see my emergency section. Good luck!!

fruitstick Thu 13-Nov-08 22:49:55

I had a male midwife at my ante-natal check ups who was absolutely lovely, and far preferable to the insensitive cow who was on shift when I went into labour.

Am suddenly reminded of the thread a while back where someone accidently slipped down the bed in her stirrups and pinned a poor doctor against the wall -will try to find it!

sorkycake Thu 13-Nov-08 22:50:10

I think I'd be more worried if a bitch of a woman turned up tbh.

LynetteScavo Thu 13-Nov-08 22:53:34

I can totally understand anyone who wouldn't want a male midwife - or any males around when giving birth.

I had a male midwife with DS1,(we were asked if it would be OK when he started his shift) and he was fantastic. I even asked him what it would feel like when the baby came out (he didn't get a chance to answer)

The only downside was when I delivered DS - in the room was DH, the male midwife, and a male consultant - the cheer they gave when tehy saw DS was a boy was tremendous. You'd have thought England had won the world cup. hmm

I would urge anyone who didn't like their midwife to ask for a different one - easier said than done - I know.

I would put write it on the front of your notes that you would prfer female staff.

crokky Thu 13-Nov-08 22:57:06

If you don't want a male midwife, you are perfectly entitled to say so.

However, just bear in mind:

1. Lots of the docs are men (a male doc delivered my DS) and I had an examination by another male doc.
2. Just because they are women, it doesn't mean they'll encourage you. I don't want to be nasty about midwives, because the vast majority of them are fantastic. I've seen a lot of them (complications etc) and by far the nastiest, most uncaring and lazy professional was a female midwife who'd had 6 kids herself. She obviously thought she knew it all and didn't bother listening to patients (encountered her with my DD who was my 2nd).

BoffinMum Thu 13-Nov-08 22:57:21

I'd be fine having a bloke mw. But I also like women who are similar in temperament to me and have a gsoh. I do not like grumpy menopausal women with issues and have started to remover them from my life wherever possible.

Swaliswan Wed 19-Nov-08 10:29:05

I had it written in my notes that I wanted only female midwives/doctors if poss for DD because I'd been examined by a very rough male doctor after being raped a few years previously. You would have thought that they would pay attention to my request, but I ended up with a male doctor. Having said that, I didn't care at the time. He was lovely, not at all rough. I even told him that I loved him when he said that DD would be here within two pushes blush

MarchNowFebMum Thu 20-Nov-08 01:34:20

You could certainly say no - well within your right) but you should keep an open mind if possible. I had a male midwife who was AMAZING and absolutely the right match for me. I absolutely did not care about my fanjo but I had a very fast intense labour (and some weird bickering between the consultants about a part of my care) and I just wanted someone capable to listen to me and to take charge of the situation -- and that was made me feel comfortable.

Male midwives are often younger ie with it, up to date on birthing trends, not old school on your back etc and frankly are used to having to try harder to win trust. Mine was thrown out of the room by another family just before coming to us and I owe that women a huge thanks! :.)

MarchNowFebMum Thu 20-Nov-08 01:36:43

Quick correction...wink I care about my fanjo just not worried about it being out there as I was quickly dilating....iyswim!

wehaveallbeenthere Thu 20-Nov-08 01:51:56

I would try to do whatever makes you the most comfortable. I am also sure that the midwives (whether male or female) are capable to handle anything that happens or get you with more knowledgeable providers if they cannot.
When I had my son the doctors (team of four) were all men. When I had my daughters it was all female midwives. I really didn't care about whether they were men or women delivering my child but that they knew what they were doing.
I have had both male and female gynocologists though. The female was more compassionate in that instance.
When I had an allergist (shoving a probe up my nose that looked to be about a foot long) he was very careful and had the most gentle hands I've ever encountered.
I've had female nurses that were like bears or wrestlers and others that were like saints in their treatment of me.
So in my opinion, I would check to see if the "person" knew what they were doing. How many babies they have under their belt..etc. Good luck on this.

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