What Are the Duties of an Obstetrician?

Doctors who primarily deliver newborns are called obstetricians. Read on to learn about the specific duties of an obstetrician, as well as educational requirements and employment statistics. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Tasks and Responsibilities

Obstetricians are medical doctors that specialize in the delivery of babies. The field of obstetrics is usually combined in educational and occupational settings with the field of gynecology, which deals with women's health and, more specifically, the health of women's reproductive systems.

As an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN), you'll guide women through the process of childbirth, including the prenatal, natal, and postnatal stages. You'll deliver babies through natural and surgical means, called Cesarean sections. Your focus is on ensuring that the baby is delivered safely and the mother remains healthy.

On the gynecological side, you may diagnose diseases and ailments ranging from various cancers of the reproductive organs to urinary tract infections. You'll help patients with these problems through medication, surgery, or therapeutic procedures. Another aspect of the occupation involves recommending preventative measures that can halt hygiene and dietary issues.

Important Facts About Obstetricians

Job Outlook (2016-2026) 16% growth (for obstetricians and gynecologists)
Key Skills Analytical and critical thinking, oral and written communication, reading comprehension, active listening, inductive reasoning, service oriented, social perceptiveness
Work Environment Hospitals, healthcare organizations, group or private practices, clinics
Similar Occupations General internists, surgeons, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


You'll need to complete medical school in order to become an OB/GYN. As a prospective OB/GYN, your undergraduate degree program should include coursework focusing on the sciences. You'll spend four years in medical school after you complete your undergraduate degree, then you'll spend another four years completing a residency in obstetrics.


In the U.S., you'll need a license to practice obstetrics. You can apply for a license from your state medical board after you pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). You may also choose to become board certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (www.abms.org).

Employment and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reported that in May of 2018, there were 18,590 people employed as OB/GYNs. The vast majority of these OB/GYNs were employed at physicians' offices, but some were employed in hospitals and outpatient care centers among other locations. As of 2018, OB/GYNs earned an average yearly salary of $238,320, per the BLS.

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