McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster graduates first male midwife

By Thana Dharmarajah
Published: May 18, 2012
Otis Kryzanauskas
Otis Kryzanauskas, the first man to graduate from a Canadian midwifery program, puts on the red shoes.

At McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences convocation today, Otis Kryzanauskas was wearing red shoes. It’s a tradition for the graduates of the university’s Bachelor of Health Sciences (Midwifery) program.

Kryzanauskas, 25, is now the first man to graduate from a Canadian midwifery program.

Midwifery has been a part of his life. His mother is a midwife and his girlfriend Melissa is a fourth year midwifery student at McMaster. Kryzanauskas' interest in the human body and biology made midwifery the right fit for him. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in physiology from the University of Western Ontario.

As a man in the profession, he says he has experienced some discrimination, sometimes from pregnant women’s partners. But it’s an issue resolved early, many months before the birth event.

"I think people have preferences for their health care," he said. "I try not to take it personally."

However, he believes more men should consider becoming a midwife.

Since 2005, the number of registered midwives has doubled in Canada and there are still women who want midwifery services, but do not have access, reports the Canadian Association of Midwives. There are now more than 1,000 registered midwives across the country.

McMaster's midwifery program, started in 1993, is the oldest in Canada. It is part of a consortium with Ryerson University and Laurentian University. There are four other universities who also offer a midwifery program.

Next week Kryzanauskas will write the provincial mandatory exam along with his classmates. Although he will be able to practice anywhere in Canada, he anticipates joining the Community of Midwives of Hamilton.


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