The developments and trends in relaation to men practising midwifery: a review of the literatur

Authors

  • Hugh P.N RGN McKenna BSc(Hons) Dip RPN

    1. Lecture in Nursing, Department of Nursing and Health Visiting, University of Ulster coleraine BT52 ISA, Northern Ireland
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Abstract

The literature shows that throughout history the duties and responsibilities of the female midwife have been eroded and impinged upon by better -educated and better- equipped male medical men. Although several of these early men midwiver's greatly improved midwifery practice, they tended to commandeer not only the best methods and the kudos but also the most interesting cases. The midwives of the past failed to stop the growth of obstertics, and their. contemporaries through the intercession the 1951 Midwifer Act attempted to block entry into the profession by male nurses. Prior to the mid 1970s, it was assumed by the leadership of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) that the introduction of male midwives would be unpopular not only with the expectant mothers but also with their husbands. Subsequent research demonstrated that this was not necessarily the case. Rather it was female midwives themselves who did not welcome the invasion of male practitioners into their domain, A review of the research literature suggests that the fears expressed by the RCM were unfounded and, by the late 1970s through to the Equal Opportunties Commission, the Sex Discriminnation Act and sevetral political machinations, male nurses were undertaking midwifery training.

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