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Male OB? Am I right to say no, or just being picky?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 

It's pretty much official that I have no hope of attaining a midwife and birthing at home now. So it's time to pick an OB. 


I've been deadset that it has to be a female. I've never had a male doc, but I do have a not so wondrous past with forceful boys I've dated, and honestly, the thought of a male OB doing exams and being a typical forceful OB during labor just makes me sick. 


But I've gone down the list of all the well-rated female OB's, and no one is taking patients. 


So do I go to the 'not so well rated' female OB's, or do I swallow some pride, know that it's a crap shoot as to who is going to be there during labor anyways, and call some of the well rated male OB's? 


I'm having trouble processing the whole hospital part of it anyways, so picking an OB seems o be too much for my brain. 

post #2 of 39

It's gotta be up to you.


Personally, I feel that female OBs can be the worst of them, so I'd rather go for a respectful, gentle OB regardless of sex. But I am not afraid of men. My comfort level has nothing to do with yours.


Just... don't settle, ok? Keep looking, keep your options open.

post #3 of 39

Maybe ask around for recommendations.  I was bummed to give up my midwife, but finding a female OB was turning out to be tricky for a variety of reasons.  I ended up speaking with the hospital staff we were going to deliver with (fab hospital!) and the nurses found out I was OB shopping.  They asked who I was thinking about and I mentioned the clinic I had looked at online.  The unanimous vote was "NO!  THIS is the clinic you really want!  No really...this is the clinic!"  From multiple, unprompted L&D nurses at that hospital.  I wanted to go with one of the female OBs there (2 females, 1 male), but ended up scheduling with the male because it was urgent.  I LOVE him.  His practice philosophies are really what I expected from midwife care.  He's so laid back and "this is your birth experience".  Never worries about numbers.  He's not huge on doing lots of extra tests or exams just because (in fact he's only doing the first internal exam at 36 weeks).  He's open to just about anything.  Maybe one reason is that this is a younger doctor who started the practice with his dad.  So Dr. Dad was just old school enough to be laid back and he learned the ropes from him. 


I like him so much that I'm going to keep going to him even after I really could return to the midwife.  I never ever thought I'd like a male OB!  But it seems like a lot of the female OBs in the area get extra traffic and don't have to be as good just because they happen to be women. 


Definitely ask around for suggestions.  I would highly recommend calling maternity nurses at the hospital and explaining your situation, and hopes for the birth, and see if they have any suggestions for a nearby provider or two or three.  I would never have thought of it on my own...the L&D nurses offered up the info very emphatically!  (It's a very crunchy hospital, so I trusted their opinions very much, and they were totally on the money!  My doula is starting to recommend him too when her clients need an OB.) 


Good luck though.  I knew we'd be at a hospital, but OB shopping at 19-20 weeks was really stressful!!! 

post #4 of 39

I am one who does not want a male OB.  I am sure there is a reasonable explanation, but in my mind, I can't really figure out how a man could possibly understand pregnancy and birth enough to meet the requirements I am looking for.  I also can't really wrap my head around why a male would want to be an OB, which I know is a terrible thing to say and sexist, etc.  I'm not saying it is reality, it is just my own warped thinking that I can't get past.  For that reason, I choose female doctors.  I once settled for a male OB and he was incredibly arrogant, forceful, and I left his office crying.  Never again...not that a female couldn't be the same way. 

post #5 of 39

I would go to the better male OB. I have not found a difference between female and male just based on the gender. I have had good and bad male OBs and female. My worst OB ever was a female, my 2nd worst was a female. My 2 best OBs ever were a male and a female.

post #6 of 39

With ds I would never have even considered a male ob. I started off with a female ob but when she offered me a c-section at 2 months I knew I needed to find someone else (I had started to see her before pregnant for fertility). So then I found a midwife but the legal area was very grey & living in a different country we didn't feel we could take the legal risks but the midwife recommended an ob that they used as their back-up for hospital transfers so I went to see him VERY unsure about the whole thing.


I have to say I ended up absolutely LOVING my ob. He was gentle, hands-off & humble. I wish I could go with him again this time (but alas, we are back home, in another country).


I am actually seeing a male ob again this time & so far feel pretty good about him.


I would recommend you try to get an intro appt with a couple different ob's if at all possible. Go to them as open-minded as possible & you may be pleasantly surprised. Try to trust your gut when you meet them - I don't do this enough & more times than not that first impression is right.

post #7 of 39

I would try it and see. Barring unusual circumstances, I'd say competence is the most important factor.


(And, I've had some bad experiences with female OBs. Bad male OBs are condescending. Bad female OBs overpersonalize. Most OBs don't have a natural birth themselves.)


I've been through a lot of OB/GYNs, including REI and MFM, and it's an amazing specialty--there is so, so much to do. Even a regular OB/GYN gets to do a nice mix of things from primary care to surgery, and that's before we get into subspecialties. There's so much more than delivering babies and doing Paps.

post #8 of 39

I LOVED my male OB.  Loved him.  The female OB who was in his practice at one point was horrible - and she didn't have any kids, either, so as far as not experiencing pregnancy, that could have been part of her problem). 


Anyhow, it sounds like you might not have another option?  I would go and try a recommended doc out.  You don't have to consent to anything you aren't comfortable with, and really, the majority of prenatal visits only include measuring of fundal height and listening to the heartbeat (with other non-invasive things like blood pressure readings and weight checks).  So, I wonder if it's possible to find an OB who has a female nurse practitioner who could do anything that involves you undressing any further (like if you need a pap smear, GBS testing, etc.) And then when you are at the hospital giving birth, chances are your nurses will all be female, and at that point you maybe wouldn't care if it was a male that ended up catching the baby (or could your DH? - bonus that he's a medic). 


eta: oops, I realize you do have a choice but that the female OB's aren't the best rated.  I guess I would interview a few of both and see what your intuition says. 

post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys. I was still feeling in my gut that I couldn't do it, not that he wouldn't be competenet, but just my own comfort level, but I posted a plea for help on our local birth group, and got this email back:




I was also exactly in your position a few years ago when I was pregnant with my first son.  I was not able to secure a midwife, but was INCREDIBLY lucky to be referred to a AMAZING GP who saw me through 2 beautiful pregnancies.
I was referred to Dr. Larry Reynolds by my doula, Tara Laba (from Birth Roots).  Now I know you mentioned female, but I thought i'd reply anyhow.  He works our of Women's Hospital, but is not an OB, simply a GP with many years experience delivering babes.  He also works with 2-3 other female GP's in his call group, all of which were like minded in the natural arena and very nice (I met them at some of my prenatal appointments). 
He is NOT an interventionist, unless necessary obviously.  He never did an internal check, nor recommened it when I was close to "due."  He lets you preform your own GBS swab in private if you wish, I mean, it's not rocket science.  He has the calmest, soothing voice i've ever heard, and never gets flustered.  Unfortunately, due to a mix up by the nursing staff, he missed my first delivery (it was xmas eve and the nurse never called him, turns out he was in the hospital too! he was VERY disappointed - in fact he told me he attends almost every birth unless he is physically out of town.).
My second birth he sat in the rocking chair for around 3 hours until I delivered.  He never checked me internally, took me off the monitor that the nurse put me on and insisted I only have intermittent monitoring with the doppler.  He was so unobtrusive, I didn't even know he was there, unless he had a suggestion for my labor.  He fully supported my husband, our doula, my birth plan, everything!  I labored in the shower, on the bed, on the ball etc.  He only offered me a sterile water injection in my back (I was having intense back labor), which I took, and I delivered my second son within a half hour of having the injection (which he said would happen!).  Incredibly, he also let my husband deliver our son!  He showed my husband what to do, but he never touched me or the baby, my husband still talks about that experience with radiance!  I could go on and on, as you can see, but I would without hesitation recommend Dr. Reynolds for anyone wanting a natural childbirth.  With the support of my doula (a must), my husband, and Dr. Reynolds I was able to have 2 natural childbirths.
His number is -------.  Sorry I went on and on.  I hope this helps you!  Good luck with your search! and if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask!  I love spreading the good word about birth :)


My gosh guys, I think I actually feel hopeful for the first time in weeks. 

post #10 of 39

I didn't have a male OB, but I did have a man give me a pap smear once.  He was SO gentle, and SO nice.  Told me everything he was doing, why, and what to expect next.  He was so nice - it was a good experience.


I would call and see if you can interview them first, if you aren't comfortable with just scheduling an appointment (I'm sure they would understand!) and see how you feel.  You may feel totally at ease and fine, or you might not.  Either way, its no big deal.

post #11 of 39

Wonderful update!  I hope going that route works out well for you. 

post #12 of 39

To be fair, I can get why having a female OB would be a non-negotiable request under certain circumstances (e.g. past abuse).  But it sounds like the OP is becoming open to trying either . I'll add my own anec-data and say that I, too, have found women to be more interventionist and aggressive.  It's not fair to generalize, but I guess my point is that an OB's sex doesn't automatically determine his/her level of compassion or competence. 

Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

I didn't have a male OB, but I did have a man give me a pap smear once.  He was SO gentle, and SO nice.  Told me everything he was doing, why, and what to expect next.  He was so nice - it was a good experience.

I had an identical experience.  (My WORST pap was actually done by a CPM midwife.  Ooooooooouuuuuuch!)


My "best pap" (if there is such a thing!  lol.gif ) was by a male doctor who described everything before he did it.  "Now I'm coming up the inner thigh, and I'm going to insert my fingers...."  For whatever reason, I found that psychologically comforting. 


post #13 of 39
I love my male OB. Never thought i would, but he is the kindest, most compassionate and attentive doc I have ever seen. And for what it is worth, he never did any type of pelvic or beast exam without first calling in a female nurse to assist. Don't know if it was a CYA move or whatnot, but I like that every exam is taken as a serious moment. Just meet that awesome sounding GP and see. You might be pleasantly surprised.

A doc friend of mine told me male OBs become OBs because they cherish women and find the miracle of life fascinating, but female OBs are contol freaks who want to understand and regulate every possible function of their bodies. Obviously not true for all, but a sort of interesting generalization.
post #14 of 39

I like that idea about going to the hospital staff and asking for recommendations.( someone mentioned it above)

Sometimes when people "can't " answer because of political reasons, a pause, or a "drifty" look can give you the answer you want!


I don't do anything unless my internal compass says, Yes!

Your internal, Yes! and NO! is your own compass to finding what is right for you.


For more on your internal compass-


Look here, " Knowing That You Know"

Then, look here- "More on No, Finding Your Yes!"


post #15 of 39

There are respectful and gentle and competent men and women OB's , but I personally could NOT labor with a man other than my husband in the room, looking at me, touching me. It feels completely wrong to me. I hear from these amazing male OB's in the field on documentaries, in articles, etc, that really respect the birth process and a woman's rights and feelings and say to myself, well maybe he'd be a good doctor to have. But then, it still wouldn't feel right. Some of them recognize that though, like that French OB Dr. Odent, and in response he makes himself scarce and even recommends the father does too, giving the mother undisturbed space and mostly or only female companionship in labor.

post #16 of 39

My first VBAC was attended by a husband/wife OB team and they were both great.  My most recent VBAC (and the practice I'm seeing now) was with a 3 midwife/one male ob practice and honestly I'd rather the male ob than one of the midwives (two of the midwives are great, one not so much for me).


I think that gender does play some role in "connecting" with a provider, but I don't think it should be the first hoop a care provider needs to jump through.  I'd probably start with their VBAC success rates (which really matter to me), their attitude towards natural childbirth, reviews from former and current clients, how I feel about them during meetings, how they handle questions and situations that come up during the pregnancy, and so on.  If the choice was between an amazing female provider and an amazing male provider I'd probably choose the female.  But if the choice was between a doctor I clicked with and one I didn't, or between a dr who supported natural birth and one who didn't, or one who argued with me during the pregnancy or made me feel "lesser" and one who supported my choices... gender would not be a factor.


I'd suggest just meeting with the various care providers and seeing how it feels "in the moment".


Good luck!  Hope you find the right fit and have a fabulous birth!

post #17 of 39

It's definitely a question, to my mind, of what feels "right" to you.  I was sexually assaulted by a male pediatrician, and from that day I have hated and feared male doctors with all my guts.  Through a stroke of very bad luck, I was transferred from my birth center, and handed over to one for a c/s.  I am not over the horror of that experience and never will be.  He could have been the kindest and gentlest of men (though I doubt it--I won't write my real feelings about male obs because they would not fly), but I was in hell.  If a strange man touching you and staring at you feels "wrong," then don't get one!  Personally, I feel like if I would rather have had an uncaring, even downright cruel female doctor.  You can have a doula for support maybe, and talk to the doc as little as possible?  But maybe there is still a decent woman out there you just haven't found yet.  Keep looking!!!

post #18 of 39
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys. It's now turned into an even bigger decision. I kind of had it in my head that I wanted to give this guy every shot-- his practices sound great, and there's a good chance he won't even be attending my birth, which means that I can get his approval for all the things I want, but even if he does end up at my birth, I can ask for my husband (or myself...) to deliver the baby. 


And then I got a call back from my MIL today saying that 'their' family OB had agreed to take me on as a patient as well as a favor (she's taking only high risk teens right now, not general population at all...). This doctor is nice, and she's supportive of natural birth, but I *have* been at a birth that she attended, and while she wasn't against the mom's wishes, she still seemed more medicalized than the reviews of this male doctor. 


So now I have to choose between the two, but even more complicated... is that DH now feels if we don't go with his family OB, then it'll look bad and upset people because they worked so hard to call in favors and get me in. Not a good enough reason alone to choose a provider, but she does have going for her that she's female, and I know and have met her, and I do know that she's supportive of natural birth. In short, she wouldn't be a bad provider by any means, I'm just not sure if I'm convinced now that HE might not be the -better- provider, you know? So I'm kind of stuck. I think I'll probably get referred to her... and to him, and then have a meeting with him and see how my gut feels. I already know I won't get in for an appt with her until mid to end of july (which I'm ok with...) so I should have a few weeks to decide. 

post #19 of 39

It is sexists to assume that someone is incompetent or evil base on her or his gender.  Go meet the OB, see what he like.


Seriously, . Imagine a male patient saying this about female urologist . He would be called a sexist pig.

post #20 of 39
Originally Posted by Alenushka View Post

It is sexists to assume that someone is incompetent or evil base on her or his gender.  Go meet the OB, see what he like.


Seriously, . Imagine a male patient saying this about female urologist . He would be called a sexist pig.

If a woman is uncomfortable having a man attend her birth, I think it's a time when she gets to be sexist if she needs to. I am personally not comfortable with a man other than my dh being present at my births and I am perfectly comfortable with my choices of female providers.

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