Meet Otis Kryzanauskas, Canada’s only male registered midwife

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Photo courtesy of Peter Power/The Globe and Mail.

Our (Canadian) copy editor Caroline loves to point out all the ways that Canada is cool — ketchup chips and all. But when she shared this bit about the country’s first registered male midwife I was intrigued:

Otis Kryzanauskas will soon be Canada’s only registered, practising male midwife. And while the disadvantages a man faces in the field are obvious, the 25-year-old from Kimberley, Ont. says the fact that he will never give birth offers one unexpected edge: “Some women don’t want their experience coloured by the [personal] experience of their midwife,” he says. “I don’t tell people, ‘Well, I did this, you can do it.'”

Mr. Kryzanauskas told The Globe and Mail he’s happy to be a pioneer, but has hardly had time to beat the drum for male midwives – he’s been too busy attending to nearly 100 births.

Why midwifery?

Maybe it was having seen someone give birth in that particular manner – a natural home birth with midwives in attendance. It just seemed like the right way to do things. That’s not to say I never considered going into obstetrics, but … I really do enjoy the continuity of care: meeting a client for the six months before delivery and then the six weeks after, you just get to know her and her family and the baby really well.

Kryzanauskas also cut this brother’s umbilical cord… which you can read all about.

Question: it seems that plenty of folks opt for a male OB/GYN with no problem — if going the midwife route, does the sex of your midwife matter to you?

Comments on Meet Otis Kryzanauskas, Canada’s only male registered midwife

  1. Two thoughts:

    1) Carl Linnaeus, the father of Modern Taxonomy was also a midwife

    2) A while back I heard a radio Doc on CBC radio where they were talking about male Midwives in a west African country. Liberia or Sierra Leone maybe? Anyways, there was a real shortage of midwives as a result of schools being shut down during the civil war, but there were more men who had the prerequisite education required to get into the midwifery program than women, so they were training a lot of men. They interviewed one male midwife who told a very moving story about deciding to become a midwife after his sister died from complications due to labour.

  2. I’m not pregnant or planning on having kids soon (so it looks like my opinion on the matter is void) but I don’t imagine I’d care who or what my midwife was as long as they were really nice, supportive and looked after me well. Whether they’ve experienced it themselves doesn’t compute, for me.

    Sure, I felt more comfortable with my first smear test when the young nurse said, “I know this won’t be very nice, but there’s nothing to worry about and you’ll be out of here in no time.” And I was.

    On the other hand, the older nurse I had next was, in a word, horrible. No nice chit-chat, no reassurances, just, “Relax!” when she couldn’t insert the instrument (and if there’s one thing to make me even more tense, it’s someone barking, “Relax!” at me while they’re trying to do a smear test). Turned out she was using the wrong shape of instrument. Cow.
    That said, I wouldn’t use my experience to dismiss all older nurses (most nurses I’ve met, regardless of age, hate been lovely) and with no experience of a male OBGYN or any gender of midwife, I wouldn’t like to dismiss them just for their gender.

    As long as they’re a good OBGYN/midwife, that’s good enough for me.

  3. I live in Newfoundland Canada and we currently have no legislation for midwifery. It’s tough because I would have to travel out of province to get midwifery care. I am also very saddened at the lack of support for home birth/out of hospital births in my province. Needless to say, I am very envious of you folks who have the option for midwife support pre and post natal.

    • My mum’s side of the family is all in Mt Pearl/St John’s and I really want to move out that way after I graduate. The lack of midwifery care there is very offputting though, if I meet someone and want nuggets I don’t want to compromise on my birth experience

  4. I wouldn’t mind.

    I’ve had some horrendous experiences with women obgyn’s dismissive of my pain and discomfort during invasive procedures, and dismissive of my upset over recurrent loss, but the male high risk obgyn I had finally was the most sweetest, positive, considerate and compassionate going.

    and for my own experience the male medical sorts tended to be a tad gentler on my parts, where exams by women left me hurting( or worse, trying to jam a speculum in the wrong hole.)

    I know gender doesn’t need to matter, but I’d so be on for male midwifery, if only because my experiences cloud it so. I feel more comfortable at this point with males but to be fair in the running the rat maze of high risk/recurrent loss, there are a couple women who rocked, but one clinic was downright atrocious in attitude.

  5. I live in Australia and had a male midwife when I had my daughter. She was born via caeserean (after a traumatic failed induced labour). He was calming, funny and a good support to me while I was in surgery, made me feel a bit more comfortable. After she was born he helped me initially to get her breastfeeding and I found that a bit weird. I much preferred the assistance of the female midwives with getting breastfeeding established.

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