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McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences Newsmagazine — Volume 6, Issue 1, Spring 2012

Otis Kryzanauskas, the first man to graduate from a Canadian midwifery program, puts on the red shoes with his fellow graduates

McMaster graduates first male midwife

Wearing red shoes on graduation day, Otis Kryzanauskas carried on the tradition of the University's graduates of the Bachelor of Health Sciences (Midwifery) program.

At 25, he is 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, he says, 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, was the first in Canada. It is lead of a consortium with Ryerson University and Laurentian University.