Question:

Is it allowed for a Muslim woman to have a male physician, nurse, etc deliver her baby?

Answer:

All praise be to Allah.

I pray that you are well and that Allah accept from our righteous actions.

The Ulema state that women receiving medical attention should be treated by Muslim female doctors and nurses. If this is not possible, then non-Muslim female doctors or nurses should be sought. If this is not available, then a Muslim male doctor should be sought. Finally, if none are available, then a non-Muslim male doctor or nurse is permissable.

This is due to necessity. Care should be taken to only uncover the parts of the ‘aura (private area, anything other than hands and face) that are necessary for treatment, and only for the duration of time needed.

A male doctor (whether Muslim or not) should never be alone with a female patient, rather a relative should always be present.

Male nurses, helpers, etc, that are not needed for the medical treatment should not be present when the ‘aura is uncovered.

Once the necessity has passed, matters return to their original ruling, and the ‘aura should be guarded from uncovering.

In the case mentioned, if no female doctors are available, as is often the case, then there is no harm in a male doctor doing the delivery.

The fiqh principle involved in such cases is: al mushaqqatu tajlib at tayseer (overbearing hardship brings ease) and ad durooraat tuqaddaru bi qadariha (necessities are limited by their extent).

As a side note, this issue highlights the importance of Muslim sisters advancing in the field of women’s medicine to fulfill this need of the Muslim community.

And Allah knows best.