• 20 May 2019
  • 9 min read

Do men make good midwives?

  • Louisa
    Student Midiwfe

Student midwife Louisa shares her opinion on whether men make good midwives. Quite a controversial topic which will have divided opinion! What do you think?

Play video: do men make good midwives? Here's Louisa's opinion.

Hey y’all, welcome welcome back to my channel Being Louisa!

So today's video is actually requested by one of you and it's also going to be sponsored by Nurses.co.uk.

Nurses.co.uk is an online website where you can get all things nursing from job posts to blog posts and the midwifery section is expanding with us!

As you can tell by the title, today's video is all about men in midwifery.

For me, it's not a gender-specific job like there are men in midwifery… and?!

It’s one of those topics that, for me, makes sense.

Why not have men working as midwives?

I've met some very compassionate and emotional men.

Men sometimes can be the best comforters depending on how you'd like to be comforted.

Read more

• How to qualify for and find a job as a midwife

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The way I am to people that I know and sometimes even some of the women I look after, if I get them and they get me, we're like the same people.

You know you’re with like-minded people and it’s comforting.

It’s happened twice now where I've had to put on my ‘mama voice’ and I get a bit assertive and I'm like ‘okay, now listen to me, you've got this!’

Sometimes when women are in the throes of labour and delivery and they don’t want to push because it hurts too much, I just look at them dead in the eye and I’m like ‘look at me [their name], you've got this, you can do this, you have to listen to me and you have to listen to your body and when you get to that point where you want to stop pushing, and I've seen you do it, you gotta push past it’.

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I get my assertive voice on, I’m like ‘push past it’ and it's amazing, it works.

Sometimes men can be like that too, men can be understanding but also assertive enough to push them through.

I wouldn’t mind having a male midwife - I have a male GP, I have a male dentist, doctors around can be male.

I’ve never been to a gynaecologist as I'm too young, but my mum has been and her gynaecologist was male.

There was a woman I looked after a few weeks ago.

We were talking, I don't know how the subject came up but she was saying how her female gynaecologist here went on holiday so a male took over her patient lists, and ever since this patient has switched over to him because she prefers him.

People have male obstetric doctors and male gynaecologists and they're fine with it, so why not have male midwives?

I just don't quite get that!

Play video: Louisa talks about the things that no one knows about midwifery!

'Men don't have babies, therefore they shouldn't be midwives'

Of course, there's the time old tale like where people think ‘well they don't know what it's like to have a baby so they shouldn't be helping women have babies’.

If that's the case, then I shouldn’t be allowed to be a midwife and to help women whilst they're giving birth and of my mentor shouldn’t be able to because we've never had children before!

Like I've said in a couple of my own videos, you having children shouldn't matter like the women you’re looking after shouldn't even really need to know if you've had kids as it’s not something you need to talk about.

I won't know for a while if things go the way that I've planned them obviously, it's all a lot but if things are the way I planned I won't be carrying my first child.

My first child, I will be adopting because that's like my heart's desire is to adopt my first child so I won't know what it's like to carry a baby and push out a baby for a very long time.

So, does that mean I shouldn't be allowed to be a midwife?!

Play video: everyone has a reason to get into nursing and midwifery - Louisa tells us hers in this video.

If you're uncomfortable for whatever reason, then that's fine

If you don't want a male midwife because of your religion, your personal faith, your personal beliefs, if you’re not comfortable with that then fair enough right that's fine, you say that to them in a polite and respectful way then fair enough.

But if your opinion is that midwifery is a female profession then that kind of sucks baloney because that means that you probably believe other types of stereotypes and other types of assumptions which aren't very helpful, to be honest with you!

I remember I met a student midwife who was a guy and I asked him ‘how does it feel for the first time ever in your life, and probably the only time ever in your life, that you're going to be a minority? How does it feel?’ and he was like ‘that's so true because I'm a guy’ and I'm like ‘exactly, that's why I'm asking!’ because he's a white male.

Oppression and being a minority, that doesn't happen really for them so of course, I had asked the question and lucky for him he'd been fine because he was based in the community so there had been no problems.

Play video: here are Louisa's favourite parts of being a student midwife!

Less than 1% of midwives are men

But then I think it was sometime last week I saw an article, I think was released on the 9th of May, about this and it was an article from a male midwife and he basically talked about his experience and stuff like that.

I got around to reading it this morning so I’m going to read excerpts from it for you!

I didn't realise how much of a minority they are in the midwifery profession until I read this article.

They fact-check so I didn't feel like I needed to fact check because it's for a credible news source, it’s from the Guardian so I'm guessing they fact check this.

It’s been 40 years since men have been allowed to practice midwifery in the UK and there are under 200 male midwives in the UK - crazy!

That's such a small number, so that male student midwife I mentioned really is a minority in this profession.

What this guy says in this article is great because it’s actually what I was thinking.

I guess because of the stereotypes of how men should be and how women are supposed to be I guess that's why people think men can't be midwives because ‘men aren’t emotional’ and ‘men can't be this and that’ but men can be emotional!

I guess it's just one of those things.

People look at it in different ways like ‘oh it's just weird that it’s a guy’ and he talked about getting that weird look!

Play video: here are Louisa's tips for surviving a 12 hour shift!

"What women do is incredible, you need to honour it. There is no failure in childbirth."

So sometimes people verbally say they don't men and then sometimes they just give a weird look or they express the shock that he's a guy midwife.

So this excerpt from the article is at the very end, I thought it was really cool and it showed how men can be compassionate and understanding.

“I do think women are too hard on themselves.

A lot of women beat themselves up saying ‘I didn't have the perfect birth’ or ‘I wasn't able to breastfeed’ or ‘I didn't do this, I didn't do that’.

You've got a human being cell by cell, and that's amazing. What women do is incredible, you need to honour it. There is no failure in childbirth."

And then he said a little bit later on ‘the birthing game can be full of emotion and there are highs and lows and everything in between. It's an absolute honour to be present and to encourage women to do what they can do. I don't deliver the baby - the women do that - I'm a cheerleader.’

That is awesome.

That’s what you've got to think about like we should all just be doing that, because Midwife means with women - it doesn't mean women with women, it just means with women.

So, all you have to do is be with the women and anyone could be a midwife in my books anyway and by the eyes of the law!

So yeah, hopefully, this opened your mind a bit and hopefully made you think about it.

Why not? It's just an extra person there to cheer you on.

You really want to have you want to have someone in your corner when you're pregnant and have someone you can turn to ask for advice and to tell you that it's gonna be alright.

You want someone there when you're in labour and you feel like you're gonna give up, you want someone that's cheering you on saying ‘you've got this, just keep on going’ and that's just the main thing.

Afterwards, you want someone there who is gonna be like ‘you're doing amazing’.

For me personally, I don't think it matters who it is, what their gender, race or creed is I don't care.

I feel like if you are respectable if you are compassionate, kind and caring and then you should be able to be a midwife!

Until next time, keep on being you! If you liked this video give it a thumbs up, comment down below any questions or suggestions and don't forget to subscribe to get weekly updates!

Bye! 

  • Louisa
    Student Midiwfe

About the author

  • Louisa
    Student Midiwfe

I'm a student Midwife studying at Kingston University, partnered with St. Georges in London. Alongside my uni work and placements, I also create vlogs for my channel, Being Louisa, and for Nurses.co.uk.