A HOSPITAL’S only male midwife has urged other men to look into the career as a future profession.

Dale Betts started as a trainee midwife at Colchester Hospital in 1996.

The East Suffolk and North Essex trust, which also runs Ipswich and Colchester hospitals, employs 318 midwives but Dale is the only man.

Dale admits he was laughed at when he first started looking into midwifery as a career.

“People see it as a woman’s job, but I can’t imagine doing anything else,” he said.

“I never used to tell people I was a midwife.

“Was I a little bit embarrassed? I don’t know, I just never used to really say it, but now it doesn’t worry me.

“Gender should not stop you doing it.

“You have to be committed and really understand what the job is.

“We don’t just sit and cuddle babies and it’s not what you see on the television, it’s not like that at all.

“Just because you are a man, it shouldn’t put you off doing it.”

Dale is now one of the hospital’s delivery suite co-ordinators. His role sees him make sure both the delivery suite and north Essex maternity services run smoothly and that they also are safe in the evening and at weekends.

The job has changed significantly during Dale’s career with advances in both medicine and technology leading to a shift in patient choices, as well as expectations of maternity services.

“The job I joined is so different to the job it is now and what I like now is different to what I used to like about it,” Dale said.

“Now I can support other midwives to do their jobs, I really enjoy that part and the patient contact.”

There are only has 106 male midwives on the Nursing and Midwifery Council register in the country.

Dale added: “It’s stressful, but it’s a privilege.

“Giving birth is something a woman may only do once, or two or three times, and we only have a small part in it, but you can make a difference or make it a bit better for someone.

“The sense of responsibility can be overwhelming when you actually think about it but it’s very rewarding.”