How to Become an Obstetrician

November 22

Table of Contents

There are numerous specialties you can choose from if being a doctor is something you are interested in. Obstetrics is a branch of medicine that treats pregnant persons before, during, and after delivery to protect both the mother's and the fetus's health. Knowing more about this practice area will help you decide if it aligns with your interests and career objectives.

Additionally, with three million births annually in the US, there is an apparent increase in the need for highly-trained and skilled obstetricians, creating a welcoming climate for individuals considering this specialty.

This article explains in detail how to become an obstetrician and their duties, qualifications, and working environment. We also outline the steps you may take to become one and address frequently asked questions regarding being an obstetrician.

What is an Obstetrician?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an obstetrician provides care for women before, during, and after pregnancy, treating reproductive problems and performing deliveries. 

Gynecologists, who perform many of the same medical procedures but usually do not deliver babies, are also frequently trained as obstetricians.

In general, obstetricians work out of a medical facility that provides outpatient services during regular business hours. 

Obstetricians must go to the hospitals where they have established privileges whenever a patient is ready to give birth. Still, because they oversee childbirth, they are frequently on call.

This is why many obstetricians collaborate with other practicing physicians in the same practice and alternate who is on call. Obstetricians can work as staff members in hospitals at all times.

What are the Duties and Responsibilities of an Obstetrician?

An obstetrician's responsibility is to monitor the mother and the unborn child's health from the beginning of pregnancy until the baby is delivered. These specialists should be deeply interested in all facets of women's general reproductive health care because they are typically also trained in gynecology. 

Furthermore, the list below includes the different duties and responsibilities of an obstetrician:

  • Providing patients and their spouses with information and advice while performing fertility treatments
  • Implementing prompt interventions, such as induced labor, assisted birth, and cesarean sections
  • Directing nurses and other medical staff who are supporting the delivery and supervising the birthing process
  • Meeting with patients and keeping an eye on them throughout the stages of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum
  • Performing surgical procedures that are both remedial and preventive, such as hysterectomies, biopsies, and tumor excision
  • Identifying reproductive disorders, including polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis, and prescribing additional tests or referring patients to professionals for cutting-edge medical care

What are the Requirements to Become an Obstetrician?

Before you can practice, obstetricians must complete several years of training. The American College of Surgeons states that individuals must first enroll in a recognized undergraduate program and graduate from a four-year pre-med health sciences, biology, or chemistry course. 

Following graduation with a degree in obstetrics, you must enroll in medical school before beginning a four-year residency program.

When selecting a medical school, look for ones with solid residency match rates for students who plan to graduate and apply. This suggests that you will be well-prepared for your following actions. 

Additionally, look for colleges or universities that offer a variety of obstetrics-related research projects and extracurricular activities.

Finding colleges in your area that offer specialized degrees in medicine rather than general medical education may be necessary for medical school as an obstetrician. 

Some schools and universities provide programs primarily focused on women's health.

You will benefit from taking courses in women's health, even if they are not exclusively obstetrics-related. Finding programs that teach robotic surgery methods, hormonally driven fertility issues, and other obstetrics subspecialties is advised.

How Much Does It Cost to Become an Obstetrician? 

Being an obstetrician costs the typical medical school, in general. The cost may only vary in your third and fourth year, depending on the specialty you choose as an obstetrician. 

That said, the median four-year cost of attendance for the Class of 2020, according to AAMC data, ranges from USD 255,000 to USD 337,000, making medical school pricey. Because medical school is so expensive, 84% of graduates graduated with debts of USD 100,000 or more.

Specifically, first-year medical students will spend between USD 39,237 and USD 63,630 for medical school. This includes tuition, fees, student health insurance, but not living expenses like rent.

How to Become an Obstetrician?

Becoming an obstetrician takes at least 12 years of post-high school study. Learn about the complicated and drawn-out process of becoming an obstetrician and how to land your ideal career in this section if you are interested in this line of work.

1. Finish High School 

The first step to becoming an obstetrician is to graduate from high school. 

Enrolling in scientific and math classes such as chemistry, physics, and biology will help you lay the framework for your college studies. To be eligible for undergraduate programs, you should keep your grades up.

2. Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Obstetrics is a minor. 

Many undergraduate majors, however, might focus on a pre-med track to prepare for med school by studying chemistry, anatomy, biology, physics, and genetics subjects. 

If you take enough science electives to complete the criteria for med school, you will not need to major in science.

3. Attend Medical School

Medical school is the next stage to become an obstetrician. To enroll in a usual U.S. medical school, you must score well on the MCAT, a program of the Association of American Medical Colleges. 

For the first two years of medical school, you will take in-depth science classes while learning medical vocabulary and procedures. 

You will undergo training at a hospital or clinic in your third and fourth years. While in your clinical training for an M.D., you must complete a rotation in obstetrics.

4. Finish the Obstetrician Residency Program

You will apply for and complete a four-year residency in obstetrics to gain knowledge and expertise in primary and preventive care, patient diagnosis, and surgical procedures. 

Your duties and obligations as a resident obstetrician will grow. Long shifts at the hospital or clinic are likely, and you may have to respond to unanticipated situations like deliveries at all night hours.

5. Obtain a License or Certification

Obstetricians and other doctors must all obtain state licensure. It would help if you were supervised to practice medicine before receiving a license. 

You must pass the US Medical Licensing Exam. You must pass a series of board exams by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Candidates must take a demanding written exam as their first test after completing residency. 

After passing the exam, you must work in women's health care. Then, there is an oral examination with an academic panel. 

You should also consider pursuing a fellowship and certification in a similar discipline, such as maternal-fetal medicine or gynecologic oncology.

6. Consider a Fellowship

Think about getting a fellowship and specializing more. Some obstetricians pursue three-year fellowships at teaching hospitals after receiving their licenses and certifications. 

These programs allow them to research and develop their areas of expertise in fields like maternal-fetal medicine and reproductive endocrinology.

7. Find a Job as an Obstetrician

Excellent internet tools are maintained by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for job searchers. This website also has a ton of information on topics like how to write an obstetrician resume, advice for job interviews, and the advantages and disadvantages of working in various locations.

Important Qualities Needed to Be an Obstetrician

The field of obstetrics is highly diversified and strikes a balance between cerebral and practical labor. Ward rounds, visiting both inpatients and outpatients, running scans, working in the operating room, and attending specialized clinics will all likely be on your calendar. 

Obstetricians employ both hard and soft talents to effectively carry out their duties. These abilities may consist of the following:

Communication Skills

Obstetricians explain intricate medical terms, treatments, and conditions in a way patients may comprehend. They can deliver adequate and thorough care because of their effective communication.

Compassion and Empathy

Like other healthcare professionals, obstetricians work compassionately to make patients feel at ease under trying medical circumstances. These experts can relate to patients while listening to their worries and discomforts because of empathy.

Problem-Solving Skills

Obstetricians employ problem-solving techniques to recognize symptoms, provide appropriate diagnoses, recommend relevant treatments, and foresee the effects of treatments to estimate healing times.

Attention to Details

Obstetricians can provide an accurate prognosis by paying close attention to the patient's medical history and symptoms. 

Additionally, thoroughness during procedures and treatments helps guarantee that patients receive the proper care.

Leadership Skills

Obstetricians use their leadership abilities to carry out their tasks successfully. 

A steady team leader is necessary for interdisciplinary teams to handle crises like surgery successfully.

How Much Do Obstetricians Make?

Obstetricians are among the highest-paid medical specialists in the nation, like all doctors. Although money should not be your primary driving force, an obstetrician typically earns around USD 310,390 annually. However, pay might differ by region, sector, and level of expertise.

However, it is worth noting that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be a fall in demand for obstetricians between 2020 and 2030, which would lead to a 2.1% decline in employment growth and the loss of 400 positions overall.

Additional FAQs – How to Become an Obstetrician?

How Long Does It Take to Become an Obstetrician?

To become an obstetrician, you need a lot of education. This includes a bachelor's degree, medical school, and residency. 

Most doctors and surgeons of all kinds typically need to complete eight years of post-secondary education, including a bachelor's degree, medical school, and three to seven years of residency.

However, this number may occasionally be somewhat higher or lower.

What Are the Differences Between an Obstetrician and a Gynecologist?

Despite having many similarities, obstetricians and gynecologists have two distinct areas of interest in the female reproductive system. The care of pregnant patients and unborn children is the focus of obstetrics. 

Gynecology deals with problems relating to reproduction or the treatment of reproductive organs like the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.

What Are the Good Majors to Become an Obstetrician?

A pre-med track, biology, chemistry, or biochemistry are all recommended majors for future obstetricians. The core skills you need for medical school are taught in these degrees' laboratory and research sections. 

Even though they are not prerequisites for medical school, microbiology, anatomy, and physiology courses might be beneficial.

However, you can select any major if you complete the required preparatory courses.

Is It Hard to be an Obstetrician?

The educational path to becoming an obstetrician entails a lot of reading and research. 

One of the most challenging specializations is obstetrics, according to several experts. Obstetricians must complete a four-to-six-year residency program longer than many other specialties. 

Because obstetricians have surgical training, your coursework will focus on hands-on and rigorous content.

You're no longer alone on your journey to becoming a physician

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