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Male midwives - can you refuse?
64

thomasina1 · 06/11/2008 08:36

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?

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Redken24 · 07/10/2017 06:27

Kuni - totally agree. Gender does not make someone good at being a midwife.

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kuniloofdooksa · 07/10/2017 06:20

It's good that people have the right to request a female midwife, but it's shocking that this is exercised so often that a male midwife had to lose his annual leave in order to qualify. That smacks of fundamental cultural sexism. Requests like this should be rare.

I think it's fine to ask to be cared for by a woman in you are a rape/abuse survivor who finds any male touch distressing or if you have deeply held religious beliefs that include never being touched by any man except your husband.

If it's just because you think a woman would do it better, that's sexism. If it's because you see a difference between being touched in an intimate area by a man or a woman then it's bordering on homophobia as such a feeling can only be based on a default assumption that everyone is heterosexual. No midwife is interacting with your private parts for sexual reasons, whether they are male or female, gay or straight. Their only priority is the wellbeing of you and your baby.

I received very poor care from one of the 3 female midwives who cared for me during a 35 hour labour. Happily she wasn't the one who actually delivered my baby but that middle 12 hr shift was the worst, being female is no guarantee of being any good at the job.

A few years later I had a mmc and had a male gynecologist rummaging around down there for quite some time sorting things out. It was a horrible time to go through but he was really lovely with an amazing bedside manner and I have never felt better cared for.

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NannyRed · 07/10/2017 05:36

You can refuse any midwife, but just bear in mind when at some time in the future some bigot says to you "I want to deal with the organ grinder , not the monkey" because you're a woman and therefore not as clever/gifted/understanding as your male counterpart not to be too upset and run screaming to mumsnet about not being treated with respect just because of your gender.

Would you refuse to see a male if it was for dental work? Would you insist on your builder being male because women can't carry bricks?

I think you're being very small minded in deciding that a male would make you uncomfortable, when I was in labour I just wanted a midewife who knew their job and had a nice bedside manner. I did have a man at my last birth, but he was a specialist as my unborn baby was in distress.

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HashtagTired · 07/10/2017 05:32

A male midwife would make me stop and think but as another poster has said, doctors can often be male too and I wouldn’t give that a second thought.
A doctor had to break my waters in one of my labours but she was a she. If she was a he I honestly wouldn’t care.

When in the throws of labour, quite honestly I’d take anyone that could help me through - as long as they were helpful and new what they were doing!!

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CatchingBabies · 07/10/2017 05:02

I'm a midwife and trained alongside a lonely male midwife. As part of our training we have to deliver 40 babies to qualify.

I felt so sorry for him as he really struggled to get his numbers due to how many women refused him for labour. He ended up working all his annual leave and the summer holidays just to get enough to qualify, you don't see that dedication in many!

He was also gay so couldn't care less about what you're exposing. I've also worked alongside many many lesbian midwives, not that a woman in labour is particularly attractive!

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HateSummer · 07/10/2017 04:50

There's a massive BBC article about male midwives and this particular thread has been mentioned (God knows why) that's why it's been bumped. The BBC need to learn to use current threads like the Daily Mail. Honestly, get with the programme BBC!

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Blues123 · 07/10/2017 04:45

Oops just realised how old this is :0

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Blues123 · 07/10/2017 04:44

I had a male dr stitch me up afterwards, I couldnt have cared less. I was toovery busy cooing over baby.

Good luck, you can always refuse whatever makes you uncomfortable x

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Purplecaz71 · 06/10/2017 19:01

I know but the forum has been mentioned in a BBC news link today about male midwives. No need to be so nasty!

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MonochromeDog · 06/10/2017 17:44

Oh FFS! Just read the whole thing and it's 9 years old!

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Purplecaz71 · 06/10/2017 17:25

I’m a nurse and I’ve looked after many men having urology and penile procedures - I think this is a similar sensitive subject but didn’t ever cause a problem. Obviously if any of them had preferred a male nurse, that would be fine but it was never mentioned. Also many midwives, including the one who delivered my baby hadn’t had any children themselves so they hadn’t experienced childbirth. I’d have been happy with a competent midwife of any gender 😀

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Tortoiseonthehalfshell · 28/07/2011 05:06

real, this thread is THREE YEARS OLD. I don't know why you think the right to choose a female practitioner is so important that you need to bump a huge number of old threads just to say so, but STOP IT.

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TheRealDeal · 28/07/2011 04:47

That's really very bad. It is disrespectful to you - and to women. Although you say you don't care, if you don't say somthing it could happen to someone who does.

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ChiefFairyCakeMaker · 21/11/2008 22:26

Slightly OT but when I was expecting DD my next door neighbour was a midwife, and as it happens a lesbian. I was worried that she might be on duty when I was having DD as I would have felt uncomfortable with the fact that she was my next door neighbour, but didn't want to say anything in case she thought it was because she was a lesbian.

As it happened she wasn't on duty when I had DD, and in fact it was a long labour with 3 shift changes of midwives all with students in tow so in fact 9 different people examined my internally, and I couldn't care less!

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Mummywannabe · 21/11/2008 09:29

I had a male midwife who was fantastic. I was greatful he delivered my little boy safely (was in distress). I think I responded better to a male (less likely to be stroppy!).

I did ask my husband if he minded when we first went in, he was fine.

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jemart · 20/11/2008 22:23

If actually faced with the situation, I probably would go with the flow, however given the choice would not ordinarily opt for any male medical staff.Female midwives and doctors are much easier to relate to.

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Doodledoo · 20/11/2008 22:05

I think so much depends on the person. All my midwives for my 2 dd were women. At one point a male doctor came in whilst my parter was not present, said he had to do a check to see how dilated I was and that it couldn't wait. He was brusque, rough and when I reflect on it, I feel quite violated. The female midwives really varied in their approaches and I would have gladly trading a couple of them for a sympathetic male midwife.

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TooMuchMakkaPakka · 20/11/2008 21:22

Yes you can refuse. One of the midwives at the hospital where i had my first child said that they didn't have a male midwife there and it was just as well as she thought that many women would refuse to have a male midwife on account of the cultural makeup of the city i am from (not sure whether this is actually true).
I have never had a male midwife, although I expect they would probably be better than many of their female counterparts, as it is also true that women in very male dominated professions tend to have to be that bit better than the 'average' man doing the same job.
Both men and women can at times be insensitive, my male obstetrician said in front of 6 people who had trooped in following him to see me (none of whom had been introduced to me) 'it's time to get things going, let's shove some prostin up'. I don't think a woman doctor would ever phrase things like that.

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lulumama · 20/11/2008 20:15

yes you can refuse

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Fillyjonk · 20/11/2008 20:11

sorry but has the question actually been answered?

CAN you refuse a male midwife?

I really hope we can. I am all for men training as midwives, but I hope that we are able to choose not to be supported by them if we don't feel cpmforatable with this. In addition, some people do have excellent reasons for not wanting men supporting them in labour. Regardless though, women need to feel comfortable with their labour companions and some women just wouldn't feel comfortable with a man being present in labour. And that needs to be respected, imo.

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Wade · 20/11/2008 20:02

The difference between male Drs and male Midwives (imho). Male midwives train for 3 years to peer up fanjos, get up to their elbows in aforementioned fanjos, and all the other delights of ladybits and childbirth. They will never experience anything like it and do not have the potential to do so. Male Dr's train for 5 years, rotate in a variety of areas for x more years, and eventually choose to specialise in a specific area in which they (hopefully) eventually become experts. So when you need an obstetrician, something has gone wrong and you want the best/most experienced one asap. When you need a midwife it is to assist and support you through a normal birth and hopefully make you feel as relaxed as possible. I (as you may have gathered) would be very sceptical about a male midwife.

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Bienchen · 20/11/2008 19:44

I had a male midwife who looked after me during last pregnancy. He also delivered DD at home with the help of an equally lovely female widwife.

He was fab!!

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missingwine · 20/11/2008 19:38

My male (senior) midwife was great. I was a little surprised to see a chap but had no problems with his chosen profession while I lie on the bed, legs akimbo! I had an awfully long labour so he didn't deliver my DS. However, he did give me two sweeps in one day and was very gentle and had a great sense of humour

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newgirl · 20/11/2008 19:15

just wanted to add that it was a male midwife who taught me to breastfeed! he was great - calm and relaxed - i was not sadly at first but he was there and baby was crying and when baby latched on properly i was forever grateful!

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lillypie · 20/11/2008 14:03

DD was delivered by a male midwife and he was fab.A year later he delivered my granddaughter.

However I was very surprised when I first saw him and thought I maybe should have been asked.

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