9 Things Even Your Male OB-GYN Shouldn't Mansplain To You When You're Pregnant
Forming a trusting relationship with your OB-GYN is important. You need to be honest with them about your medical and sexual history, symptoms, needs, and desires. You also need to be comfortable enough to ask questions and be able to make informed decisions about your health care. You should choose a provider you trust and follow their advice. For many reasons I haven't been able to get comfortable with a male OB-GYN. Mostly though, it's because they don't "get" my body and there are things even your male OB-GYN shouldn't mansplain to you.
Things like how painful a procedure is, because when you are personally experiencing pain, it really sucks to have someone correct you about how you are feeling. The same goes for how a labor contraction feels. Ummm, how the heck do you know? There are also things that are super personal, like choices about my fertility, sex life, and plans to have or not have children in the future. Totally not any of your business, unless I need more information to make a decision. The only things I want to hear from my health care provider about my pregnancy or reproductive choices are facts, not opinions, thank you very much.
Pregnant women already feel judged and scrutinized by everyone for doing the wrong things, eating, drinking, and often simply just being pregnant in the first place. We certainly don't need to feel judged by our OB-GYN and we definitely don't want our pregnancies mansplained to us.
Any Procedure That Causes Pain
I've had male OB-GYNs use words like "discomfort" and "pressure" to describe procedures like pap smears, cervical checks, membrane sweeps, and getting an epidural. My question for them is, "How the hell do you know what I'm feeling?" Seriously, please don't explain that I shouldn't be feeling pain when I totally am.
The Number Of Children You Should Have
My husband and I have five children between the two of us. I couldn't believe it when an OB. during my last pregnancy, said incredulously, "Are you sure you don't want more babies?" Yep, I was sure.
Whether Or Not You Should Have A C-section
When I was hospitalized during my last pregnancy, my OB-GYN thought I might have to have a c-section to have my son safely. The on-call male OB said, "You should really try to avoid a c-section, because it may impact your ability to have future babies vaginally," as if that was more important than having my baby safely. No.
Your Fitness Level
Despite my female OB-GYNs and midwives telling me that it's perfectly OK to continue my previous fitness activities as long as they continue to feel good for me, I had a male midwife not believe that I run, lift weights, take HIIT class, or practice yoga regularly. Instead, he suggested I take it easy, as if I was a delicate flower or something. I asked not to see him again. He clearly didn't get me at all.
Anything That Causes You Anxiety
I'm talking to you, on-call OB who told me I was being a "nervous Nellie" for coming to the hospital when I was having contractions a few weeks before my due date. I was scared, in pain, and, as a first-time mom, had no way of knowing that I wasn't really in labor. Thank you so much for describing how my contractions didn't feel.
How Nauseated You Feel
I literally threw up every day for months when I was pregnant. I had to be hospitalized and receive IV medications and fluids. I had a male OB refuse to give me IV fluids or anti-nausea medications when I went to the hospital, because he thought I should try crackers and soda first. If I could have kept down crackers and soda, I wouldn't have gone to the hospital.
What A Contraction Feels Like
There's no way I can really describe a contraction to someone who hasn't had one. However, when I was admitted to the hospital to have my first child, the male OB resident (who was younger than I was) was pretty confident he could describe them to me. He used those two not very accurate words, "pressure," and "discomfort." No. Just no.
What You Should Or Shouldn't Use For Pain Management During Labor
When the consulting OB for my second birth suggested I refuse an epidural so I can have a full experience of childbirth (implying that my first 20+ hour labor was less good because I got an epidural at the end), I initially took his advice. It's probably good for him that I didn't see him during my horrible back labor, because I might have punched him.
Your Choice To Use Birth Control After Delivery
I literally called five OB-GYN practices to find one that would prescribe me birth control after I had my second baby. I hadn't realized that most OB practices in the area are affiliated with Catholic hospitals and refuse to provide contraception on religious grounds, but I also heard gems like, "Are you sure you wouldn't be interested in learning about fertility awareness?" and, "Are you sure you want to prevent pregnancy? Does your husband know?" Seriously.