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Why Do Men Enter the OBGYN Field?

Updated on January 2, 2013

Caesarean Birth

According to Historian, this practice/method of delivery was named after Julius Caesar, based on the traditional belief that the Roman Statesman Julius Caesar was conceived by this operation.

During the 13th Century, Caesarean birth was performed mainly by midwives who learned this procedure through a practical apprenticeship, not through any sort of professional study. Most were illiterate and even if they could read, very few medical texts existed during those days. For many women, their first pregnancy ended fatally. As a result, women of all social status had a great fear of childbirth.

Midwives first began the practice of delivery by caesarean section (C-section) -- birth by an incision through the abdominal wall and uterus. However, caesarean sections were performed only if the mother died in labor. The purpose of the operation was to ensure the baptism of the child(based on the theological reasoning that baptism assured the child's salvation).

While the infant was being removed from the abdominal opening in the mother's dead body, the midwife's assistant prepared a tub of water to bathe the child. Since only few infants survived this procedure, midwives usually needed witness to assert that they had not bungled the birth or deliberately killed the infant.

During the early 14th century, this surgical procedure was performed mainly by male physicians who now dominated the field of obstetrics during that period. Some writers believe that about 1400BC, male surgeons motivated by professional, scientific and probably financial interests began to perform caesarean births. Thus, through caesarean births, men entered the field of gynecology and obstetrics.

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