There's something about pregnancy that seems to make people lose their filters and say sexist, inappropriate, and downright creepy things. During my three pregnancies, I heard so many creepy things from so many people, including, unfortunately, my OB-GYN. The person I trusted to help me birth my babies ended up making me feel uncomfortable. And when I asked other moms to share the creepy things their OB-GYNs said to them, I learned that I'm sadly not alone.
Some of the things I heard came off as creepy because they were awkward, like the time the on-call OB-GYN asked me if I "was sure" my husband was the father of my baby. Then there were the misogynistic AF comments, like when the male OB-GYN asked me if my husband had a preference for whether I delivered vaginally. I also had a midwife ask my husband if he wanted her to give me an "extra stitch for daddy." If that's not disgustingly creepy, I don't know what is.
The moms I spoke with shared similar stories, and so many more, which made me wonder why people think it's funny to joke about reproductive anatomy or pregnancy in the first place. The same goes for speculating about a pregnant woman's sex life, and deferring to her male partner when the pregnant person is the damn patient. If OB-GYNs want their pregnant patients to trust them and feel safe, they need to stop saying the following things:
"When pregnant with my first I asked about the safety of intercourse and his answer was, 'So long as you don't go swinging from the ceiling fans you should be fine.' I guess he expected a laugh but all he got was awkward silence."
"When I was around 38 weeks, I went for my regular visit and my doctor wasn't available, so I saw another (male) clinician. When he went to check my cervix, he looked at my spouse and said, 'Well, this is always awkward,' with a chuckle. I'm thinking, "No it's not, but you just made it awkward.'"
"I have always been freaked out by Pap smears and pelvic exams. Anxiety through the roof. I’m a sweaty mess and have been since I started getting them when I was 17. I was told by my former OB-GYN that I needed one when I was 12 weeks along. I didn’t want one, because I was afraid it would hurt the baby. She didn’t reassure me that it wouldn’t, and she said I had to. I was sweating and shaking as she did it. Afterwards, she gave me a pad and said I would bleed and cramp. I was panicky and said how would I know if the baby was OK. She already had one foot out the door, stopped and asked if I had a problem with intimacy. I cried for days after and fired her. Last I checked, a speculum and bristle brush isn’t foreplay."
"[My OB-GYN] never said anything creepy. In fact, I adored him and his sense of humor. But halfway through my pregnancy, he was busted for running a prostitution ring. Some of his ladies were former patients, and allegedly some events happened in the clinic."
"At my 12-week appointment, I saw one of my five OB-GYNs — the one I like the least. I referred to the baby as 'she,' and he asked if we already knew, and I said, 'Yes, we did the Panorama. Our third girl.'
He said, 'Well, if you want to have a fourth and go for that boy, come and see me first and I’ll tell you how to do it.' Umm, no thanks. Weirdo."
"I had to see a specialist when I was on bed rest for high blood pressure. I had a growth scan with the specialist, and he was telling me the possible outcomes if I waited until term to deliver. He said, 'You could deliver a dead baby.' It was so incredibly cold."
"While she was pondering what hospital to send me to, she said, 'You can go there if you want, but while I was working there a woman your size was there, and her baby died.'
She had a major, major thing about being fat — beyond what was reasonable or necessary. I think she let that cloud her judgement a lot."
"I had only seen midwives up until 41 weeks with my first. High blood pressure and possible preeclampsia meant I had to speak with an OB-GYN. She came in, never looked at me, read her chart, and said, 'Well, time to crack this egg. Wait any longer and you both could die.'”
"As I was getting stitched up from delivery, my OB-GYN said, 'This one may hurt a little more, but it'll look nice and pretty.' I didn't think much of it as I had just pushed a baby out, and getting stitched wasn't my first thought. I don't think it was necessarily a 'husband stitch,' but it hurt like a bitch. And I don't think my bag was pretty to begin with. Also not the first thing in my mind afterward."
"Post-laparoscopy (endometriosis) follow up, while my vaginal ultrasound was in process, with no nurse in room, [my OB-GYN] asked if I had any concerns or questions. I asked if intercourse with my well-endowed husband would be possible. He used the vaginal ultrasound wand to 'test' the theory. 'Does it hurt when I do this? What about this? That? No then you'll be fine.' It answered the question but I highly doubt that's the correct way to suss it out. Got pregnant immediately and saw him again to discuss possible complications so close to surgery. He was very impressed with his ability to get women pregnant. Just after that appointment he was unexpectedly retired. He was the head of OB-GYN at a major hospital. I've always wondered if he retired in the midst of scandal."
"I had a bunch of signs of breast cancer, which ran in my family. My cousin had died relatively young (in her 20s) from it. My OB-GYN laughed at me and said I didn't have it, without checking anything, because I was obviously too young.
Then, he asked my husband if he had a small penis, to 'determine if it ran in the family' so that he could tell if the sex determination ultrasound was correct about it being a girl.
During labor, he also asked my husband (not me) if he wanted me to have the extra 'husband stitch' and said that I probably wouldn't notice because of the pain meds I was on."
"I was having my cervix checked after having bad Braxton Hicks for a while. I indicated that I was in pain, and the doc said, 'Good thing you're not giving birth vaginally.'"
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