That’s Midwifery?

Today I completed my male genital exam check off in lab.  Yes, it is true.  In midwifery school I have been trained to assess the male reproductive anatomy.  Don’t worry, I checked off on female exams a few weeks ago.  But you might be wondering why a male exam is part of midwifery school.

My path to midwifery has lead me to a nurse midwifery program.  The full program I am completing is called Family Nurse Midwife.  This means I will be able to provide primary care for everyone, young to old.  I will also be trained to attend a family during pregnancy and labor. I really like this model for several reasons, and they all center around the fact that pregnancy and birth are not taken outside the scope of the family in this model.

I really like that families can have a continuity of care for all members.  I feel this gives a better relationship and allows for more thorough health education and care.  My hope is that it will encourage families to deal with health issues that ordinarily are ignored, and will provide families with the tools they need to plan and prepare for a pregnancy. All of this is possible because I won’t be someone they contact after they are pregnant.

I also like the way it allows me to deal with many issues simultaneously.  I will be better prepared to help women with pre-existing medical conditions to understand how pregnancy will affect those conditions.  Although with some conditions they may need to have a higher level of care, for most issues I can assist. Having both midwifery and nurse practitioner training also makes it more realistic to work in less densely populated areas, you need to have enough clients to support a practice and in some rural areas being primary care along with midwife will make it financially feasible.

I am tremendously fond of having a nursing background as a midwife, but that is a big topic. It is  something I changed my mind about – but not until I was nearly done with nursing school.  I’ll share my thoughts on that topic tomorrow.

But the truth is, any advanced practice nursing degree requires an advanced assessment class.  Even if I was only training to be a CNM or women’s health practitioner, I would still be expected to understand and be able to assess the health of a man’s reproductive organs. It’s just part of understanding the whole health of the person and family.  It gives a better understanding of infertility issues and problems with sexuality and sexual function for both individuals in the relationship. You are able to assist both the woman and her partner (male or female) through reproduction issues, and that is midwifery.

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)