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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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Madsometimes · 20/11/2008 09:47

dd1 (8) was delivered by a male midwife. I had not met him before my induction, and although I initially felt unsure of him, he was totally fab . My labour was a short, sharp one (3 hours). He delivered my baby brilliantly and then had to give her oxygen and got her breathing when she needed a little help.

My labour for dd2 was a much more negative experience, mainly because of complications due to my womb going into a sustained contraction from the prostin. It was also short (4 hours) but I had 3 different midwife teams attend me and I do not remember any of them.

I think, in general, what makes a good birth is not too many complications, and not too many shift changes. It is quite hard to control either of these things, but the sex of the midwife or doctors has very little to do with it.

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wannaBe · 20/11/2008 09:58

I had a male mw for part of my labour - he was a student and have to say he was ve odd. But I think ultimately it's down to the individual not the sex iyswim. I also had a male obstitrician examine me and he gave me the creeps. The male anesthetist who administered my epidural on the other hand ... mmm

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luckymoray · 20/11/2008 10:17

personally i would love to have a male midwife - i feel sometimes women give other women a hard time - ie, an experienced midwife who has become almost desensitised to the process of childbirth and is very cold towards you. i think that any man who trains and wants to become a midwife will be so careful of doing a good job and doing the right thing, that I wouldn't be worried at all. Obivously there are thousands of brilliant female midwives out there, but I have had the misfortune to run into a few very jaded ones...the most memorable one being the lady who started off my induction with my first child - as she inserted the pessary, she kindly informed me that this 'would take me to hell and back'....the result - a crash c-section 40 hours later. All was fine, thank goodness, but I really do think that after many years of being overworked and underpaid, some midwives just really go through the motions.

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Fillyjonk · 20/11/2008 10:36

I think I know how you feel thomasina

I know a male midwife, he is very nice. but I just wouldn't feel comfortable with a man in the room, aside from dp, while I was giving birth.

I do feel strongly that women need every opportunity to feel relaxed and safe while giving birth-like all mammals. I think, if we do not have a right to refuse a male midwife, we should do.

I also think that a midwife has a very different role to, say, an anaethesiologist. Midwives are all about support. trust, encouragement at a vunerable time. Some women just would not feel comfortable getting that support from a man. I wouldn't. Its not a bitchy thing, its not a competancy thing. Its quite a primeval thing.

I am not saying that men should not train as mws but I think there must be capacity in the system for a woman to ask for another woman. If it were me and I were told I might be unable to avoid a male mw, I think I'd change hospitals.

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christiana · 20/11/2008 10:49

Message withdrawn

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laweaselmys · 20/11/2008 11:54

I would quite like a male midwife. I tend to prefer male nurses/GPs for all women's stuff just because I know they've never done it so I never feel judged. Odd - I realise, but there you go!

In the moment though, can't say I'd care very much.

I should think having female midwives is a very common request and not a problem.

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greedygoose · 20/11/2008 12:55

I had a male midwife for aftercare of all 3 babies - he was amazing and especially good at making my Husband feel at ease, he gave me a membrane sweep and was very caring and professional.

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kuita · 20/11/2008 13:41

Can honestly say it would not bother me one bit, I ended up having assisted delivery - ventouse/forceps and it was a male doctor who delivered my son. When you are that high on drugs I couldn't have cared if Brad Pitt was delivering my son!! I can understand how it first you might not like it but when the tough gets going you just want it out so it doesn't matter who does or what sex they are!

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LilRedWG · 20/11/2008 13:42

At my fist appointment I was asked how I'd feel about a male midwife and I said fine, but I was given the option to say otherwise.

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RubyRioja · 20/11/2008 13:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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ilovemydog · 20/11/2008 13:51

Sounds like the perfect opportunity to scream, 'you will never know what this is like...'

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georgimama · 20/11/2008 13:53

I thought I wouldn't want a male MW but having had a baby I no longer give a monkies.

Oddly, when I needed to be stitched I was really surprised that the obstetrician was a woman, a gorgeous one, about a year older than me and I felt really self conscious being sweaty, bleeding and a complete mess. In front of an older man I wouldn't have cared.

She was lovely though and very very very gentle and careful.

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ScottishMummy · 20/11/2008 13:55

is it all male staff?would you refuse male doctor?i reckon a man in a predominately female job is there through sense of vocation, after all he would have endured lots of teasing etc

he passed the same exams
he did all the practicals
registerd m/w, same as the females

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Hulababy · 20/11/2008 13:59

I am sure you can ask for a female midwife.

However, I would ask yourself why you would feel so uncomfortable? Do you have a male doctor any time - does this bother you? Many gyneacologists are male - would you refuse this also?

I read an article just this week about a male midwife and the feedback from his clients was remarkable - all glowing and excellent. I personally wouldn't be so quick to rule it out.

Why not, if you find yourself with a male midwife, give it ago for the first week or so and see how it goes? Give him a chance first.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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lulumama · 20/11/2008 20:15

yes you can refuse

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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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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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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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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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