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An Obstetrician is a medical specialist dealing with the surgical care of women and their children during pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium (a midwife is a non-medical equivalent).

Most of the obstetrician's clients are women who have difficult and high-risk pregnancies that could end in death for either the baby or mother. It is the obstetrician's job to check in on their client and run numerous tests to assure healthiness for the mother and child. [1] Obstetrics dates back to as early as 1303 B.C. No medical training was necessary then and it was only in the home. Now you must take years of schooling to practice both at hospitals and in homes.

Obstetrics can be both a beautiful and very stressful job. It can be beautiful because the obstetrician gets to witness birth and assure it will be a safe and healthy delivery, but because of this job's long and irregular hours it can be difficult for the person. Also sometimes terrible things happen and neither the obstetrician and nor anyone else can do anything about it.


Historical obstetrician instruments at the Living History museum. Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Until modern times, obstetricians only helped women give birth and did not need any medical training. This practice has been recorded as early as 1303 B.C. when midwives helped in home delivery. Midwives eventually turned into the term midwifery, and it was just a practice in the field of obstetrics. The greatest way that obstetrics has helped in childbirth is when infants and babies have lived past a year old. Also, medical advances for pregnant women have helped dramatically through inventing antibiotics to fight against any infections before, during, and after giving birth; being able to use blood transfusion; to solve blood transfusion, and surgical advances have helped save the lives of both the mother and the child. A dramatic thing that has saved the lives of many women and babies is that women tend to go to hospitals instead of having home births. This has saved many lives because help is right there instead of having to drive to the hospital later. An example of how much has changed since the early years is that during the 20th century, for every 100,000 live births in the U.S., 600 to 900 women died from delivery complications and 10,000 infants died before the age of one. By the end of the century, only 10 women died from child birth and there were only 1,000 infant deaths for every 100,000 live births. In the U.S. the number of deaths during childbirth dropped from 1,840 to 650 between the years of 1950 to 2001, and the number of infants dying before the age of one was 2,050 in 1950 and went down to 450 in 2001. As the years go on medical technology in childbirth continues to advance. [2]

Job Description

Obstetricians and gynecologists have very similar jobs; they are so close that you study both of these in college and then choose what you would which position you would prefer at the end of your schooling. Obstetricians have to study gynecology because they need to be able to tell their pregnant clients about problems with their reproductive systems. They have to check on their clients consistently to make sure that they do not have any health issues during pregnancy or during their delivery. Most obstetricians' clients are women going through rough pregnancies and they help women by taking ultra-sounds, blood pressure tests, and physical examinations. They also give women every detail and all the information they need to know about their time during, and after their pregnancy. Obstetricians also keep records and charts of how the baby and the mother are doing before and after the birth of the child. Obstetricians specialize in helping mothers in very high-risk pregnancies and births. If a mother goes to an obstetrician they are more likely to have the assurance of a healthy baby and to be healthy themselves. [3]

Obstetricians that choose to specialize in high-risk pregnancies deal with tubal pregnancies, pre-eclampsia, placentia previa, and unusual presentations of the fetus. Obstetricians are able to be on the delivery team when the mother has the baby or help during early labor or with difficulties in labor. Being an obstetrician is a wonderful job because they get to bring new life into the world, but this can also be a very stressful job. Obstetricians have to work long, irregular hours because pregnancy is not predictable and can happen at anytime. Also, being in the delivery room can be very emotionally draining because it can end badly. The malpractice rates can be very high because even though obstetricians are very skilled and well trained they can still mess up and natural unfortunate things can happen.

The only difference between obstetricians and midwives is that obstetricians have to sub=specialize in surgery. Obstetricians have to have knowledge in surgery in case one of their patients gets rushed into surgery during labor. The obstetrician is able to go into the room with them and help out the doctors and the patient. [4]

Educational Requirements

A practice doll that early Obstetricians used

Becoming an obstetrician is very difficult and it takes many years of study, so people have to really want to have this job. Before even going to college prospective students need to take many math and science courses. Then you have to go through four years of college and get a bachelors in science or in arts, depending on the medical school they choose. Some medical schools will also accept those who have only gone through two years of undergraduate schooling, depending on the school. Following the four years of medical school, you have to do a year-long internship at a hospital or a obstetrics clinic. Than you must enter into a residency graduate education in obstetrics and it takes about four to six years to complete. [5]


An obstetrician's salary depends on how much experience the person has. When someone finishes school and goes into the workforce they will make, on average, between $50,000 and $200,000 a year. As the person's experience increases their pay will go up and they will make an average of about $300,000 a year. Most people have to work about twenty years or more to be able to earn $300,000 a year, but they always have school bills and debuts they need to pay off.[6]


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