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International News Apr 28, 2022 4:42 PM EST

Students learning about childbirth taught how to care for 'birthing person who is transitioning from male to female'

Materials provided to midwifery students at a university in Scotland taught them how to treat "birthing people" who "may still have external male genitalia."

Students learning about childbirth taught how to care for 'birthing person who is transitioning from male to female'
Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

Materials provided to midwifery students at a university in Scotland taught them how to treat "birthing people" who "may still have external male genitalia."

Students at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland were puzzled when they opened their learning materials and saw what appeared to be suggestions that biological males could give birth.

Concerned students have since spoke out about this apparent disregard for biology.

Reduxx broke the news on Wednesday after whistleblowing students gave them access to the materials in question, which were part of a unit on catheterization.

Catheterization is common during childbirth, especially among those who undergo a c-section or need an epidural. Mothers often choose to be fitted with a catheter in order to assist with bladder drainage during the birthing process.

With that in mind, students were quite confused when they opened their learning material and saw a warning on Page 1 about providing catheterization to males.

It stated: "It is important to note that while most times the birthing person will have female genitalia, you may be caring for a pregnant for birthing person who is transitioning from male to female and may still have external male genitalia."

"It is important to note," the material read, "that while most times the birthing person will have female genitalia, you may be caring for a pregnant or birthing person who is transitioning from male to female and may still have external male genitalia."

In Sections 4.2 and 4.4, the material suggests that biological men can give birth, with the latter showing students how to catheterize male genitalia.

The materials also gave anesthetic gel dosages for both males and females, with females being recommended 6mls of analgesic gel, and males are being recommended 11mls

Another section details how to communicate with a male patient when the catheter moves through the prostate gland. Students are instructed to warn "male persons" of "discomfort as the deflated balloon passes through the prostate gland."

As Reduxx reported, while the materials were later edited to change "male to female" to "female to male," everything else remained. Instructors did add, however, that a female transgender person could give birth through a surgically constructed "penis."

A Fellow of the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy, Elaine Miller, told Reduxx that "It is not possible for a male person to get pregnant,” Miller said, continuing that even the hasty edits the instructors made were rife with impossibilities."

"A [female] with a gender difference can become pregnant but will not have male genitalia," she said. "Most [females] who use testosterone, at the doses used for 'transition,' will develop vaginal atrophy.  The fragile tissue of an atrophied vagina may be unable to stretch to accommodate a baby’s head."

Dr. Susan Bewley, an Emeritus Professor in Obstetrics and Women’s Health at King’s College London, told Reduxx, "A few [female-to-males] undergo genital surgery but, in general, those with a surgically created neo-penis simply cannot get pregnant either because they undergo a hysterectomy as a prelude,” she says, concluding: “These materials are the opposite of the high-quality training that patients need from midwives and doctors. The project may have arisen from compassion and enthusiasm, but it is worrying that the writers don’t seem to know, care about, or check facts."

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