What is an obstetrician?
In this medical field the physician is a specialist that focuses their time on labor and delivery. It is considered to be a surgical sub-specialty. This means that the obstetrician has attended surgical training and specializes in the care of a woman who is pregnant. In surgeries they are specializing in labor and delivery. An obstetrician will monitor a woman’s pregnancy throughout her entire pregnancy and delivers her baby. They are also called osteopathic doctors. If they do not like the idea of helping with childbirth and seeing the all the things that are associated with a child being born then this is not the medical field they should seek a career in. Also, if they are squeamish about blood then they should look at another medical field or a career outside the medical field.
Job description of an obstetrician
Being an obstetrician the main duty is dealing with a woman through her pregnancy and childbirth during the natal, prenatal, and postnatal. On this journey there are many more responsibilities that an obstetrician has. Some of these responsibilities can include:
- They will diagnosis and identifying any pregnancy-related problems that might occur and treat them.
- An obstetrician will also keep track of their patient’s health during their entire pregnancy and giving the patient advice on better healthcare during her pregnancy.
- They will also counsel women on different birth control methods and various diseases like breast and cervical cancer, etc.
- Explaining any pregnancy-related tests that the patient may have to have and then discussing the results with the patient.
- They will advise patients on their diet and any lifestyle changes they might have to make.
- Making sure that the baby is delivered safely via natural birth or cesarean but an obstetrician has to be prepared for any type of birth position.
- An obstetrician can also work in the areas of high-risk pregnancies and fetal health problems
- Maintaining the health records of their patients
- They will also give care to the newborn.
- They will monitor both of their vital signs.
- Treat hormonal imbalances
- After the baby is born they will offer post-partum care.
Many times an obstetrician will also study gynecology as a sub-specialized field so they can take care of a range of conditions that are related to their patient’s reproductive system. If a medical emergency happens during the course of a patient’s pregnancy they will be a part of the team that cares for this patient. Some obstetricians specialize in pregnancies that are high-risk.
In addition to having all the training, license, and board certification to become an obstetrician they will also need to have strong written and verbal communication skills, have the ability to pay close attention to detail, organization and skills in problem solving, dexterity, and physical stamina.
How to become an obstetrician?
As with many professions in the medical field becoming an obstetrician will require them to obtain a state license and a commitment to 12 years of educational study and residency. Before they can get into medical school there are 4 years of general college that they have to complete to get their bachelor’s degree. Although there is not a specified major for obtaining a bachelor’s degree many students will take classes that fill the prerequisites to get into medical school. There are even some colleges that combine regular college and medical school into a 6-7 year curriculum. Even if they attend a college that does this they will still need to pass the Medical College Admission Test to get into medical school. Most who are planning on attending medical school take this test after their junior year in college.
It is required that they attend medical school in order to get a Doctor of Medicine degree. During the beginning of medical school the student will take laboratory science, procedures pertaining to general health care, and lecture courses in anatomy. The last 2 years is where the student will gain practical experiencing doing clinical rotations at clinics or affiliated or local hospitals by examining patients. In order to become an MD the student will have to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). They will also need to be a licensed MD in order to get into their residency program.
The residency program will also take 4 years to complete but before they can start their residency they have to complete a 1 year internship. When in a residency program the student will work under the supervision of at least one licensed obstetricians but can be several licensed obstetricians. Being admitted to an obstetrics residency is very stiff and competitive and many obstetrician residency programs will only accept a few students each year. During residency they will receive training in actually delivering a baby, pregnancy monitoring, gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, infertility, gynecological procedures, reproductive endocrinology, and urology.
There are many employers who look for obstetricians who are licensed and also board certified in both gynecology and obstetrics. To get board certification the obstetrician will have to pass oral and written tests plus show experience in obstetrics and gynecology that is administered by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Their certification must be renewed every 10 years. To be able to renew certification and their licensure obstetricians are required to continuing educations. They can get Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits by attending approved seminars, conferences, and courses or by doing activities in self-assessment
Work environment and schedule
Most obstetricians will work in hospitals, birthing facilities, clinics, surgical centers, private practices, or group practices. The hours that they work are long and irregular with many working over 60-80 hours a week, and on call 7 days a week 24 hours a day. Babies are not born on schedule so an obstetrician will have to work on the baby’s schedule. If they work for a hospital they can be called out at any time for emergencies or be on call several times during the month, including a weekend or two.
The patients that see an obstetrician can be walk-in or referrals from their primary care physician. If a woman thinks that she is pregnant and goes to an obstetrician instead of their primary care physician the obstetrician will first confirm the pregnancy and then prescribe some prenatal vitamins. The obstetrician will also check to see how far along she is, do a pelvic examination, and may order blood tests to make sure that the pregnancy is going along smoothly. They will also monitor the patient’s weight gain during the entire pregnancy.
When a woman is pregnant she wants to get settled in with an obstetrician at the beginning of their pregnancy. In the beginning of their pregnancy, known as the pre-natal stage, the obstetrician will check to make sure that the baby is healthy, talks to the pregnant mother about steps that can be taken to make sure that their pregnancy runs smoothly. At future appointments they may also perform diagnostic tests to see if there may be any potential problems not only with the pregnancy but also the delivery.
If an obstetrician specializes in high-risk pregnancies they will see patients that have been referred to them and not walk-in patients. Some of problems that could arise that has a pregnant woman going to a high-risk obstetrician are pre-eclampsia, unusual presentations of the fetus like a buttocks first position, tubal pregnancies, placenta previa, and more.
When a woman with a normal pregnancy visits their obstetrician they will do a complete examination. They may also do an ultrasound test to see what the sex of the baby, gives the obstetrician an idea when the baby will be born, if the baby is growing as it should according to the month of the pregnancy, if there are any abnormalities in the fetus, and to see if there is an adequate blood flow through the umbilical cord.
Obstetricians also provide postnatal care. In addition to pregnancy an obstetrician can also do Pap smears, laparoscopies, tubal ligations, Cesarean sections, circumcisions, etc. They can prescribe medications, explain to patients the benefits and risks of therapy and treatment options, and provide postnatal care showing women how to care for their babies, especially if they are a first time mother.
If you have your own private practice or work in a group practice they also have administration duties such as maintaining patients medical records and keeping them secure, management tasks, hire employees, etc. They could also participate in research studies that involve medical treatments and techniques.
Pros and cons of being an Obstetrician
The rewarding of being an obstetrician comes mainly from giving birth to a baby and watching the newborn during his first days of being born. The bad news is that are cases when the babies are born lifeless, or they die during a delivery; that’s a very sad thing to watch or be part of. Another rare case is seeing a mother die during the labor or after, but this is part of the job.
If you love being there and helping the mothers deliver the baby and connect with this young family, then this is the perfect job for you. You also have to create relationships with them and make sure that all is good after the delivery had taken place.
Another con of this job is that babies won’t wait they come at crazy hours, and you might be on-call at odds hours. The malpractice in medicine for an obstetrician is pretty high because you can be sued until that baby will turn into an adult and by many people. So it will never be cheap to sustain an insurance since you’ll never know when it could actually happen.
Many obstetricians are working as well as gynecologist and this career on many aspects is very demanding, and the rate of stress on a daily basis is pretty high due to all situations and sometimes even hazardous conditions.
As an obstetrician, your schedule at work will be irregular since you’ll have to wait for the patient to go into the labor. This can appear at any hour and anytime, and you have to lead them through the whole procedure, this automatically involves many hours to spend in your feet and dealing with multiple tasks and unpredicted situations.
The educational path for an obstetrician is very competitive, and not many of the students will succeed to enroll in a residency position. The salary for an obstetrician is attractive and with a combination of obstetrician and gynecologist, you ca really increase your earnings.
Obstetrician job growth
The job satisfaction in this field is high, and the work can be very rewarding and enjoyable. The growth rate in this field for Obstetrician employment careers opportunities is very good, being considered to be faster than the median for all occupations. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected rate of increase in the area of employment is expected to be of 17%-18% for the next five to ten years.
The female baby boomer population is one in a continuous increase leading to an acute need for the obstetrical services for many years from now. Though, with the recession that established in 2008, the birthrate has declined still there are plenty of families across the U.S that want children. All in all the need for these professionals will still be very demanding since there are plenty of women who want to become mothers.
The job prospects and the future outlook is one that remains positive since these professionals are in need in various working places.
An obstetrician salary is one of the highest that a medical professional can receive. On average a obstetrician’s yearly salary would be $215,750 but exactly what it would be also depends on several factors like the country where they work, any specialization and advanced skills, their age, where they work, how many years work experience, their geographical location, whether they have a private practice, are a part of a group practice, in a hospital, a clinic, etc. If they a combination of degrees in gynecology and obstetrics their salary will be higher.
Of course if they are a newly licensed and board certified obstetrician their beginning yearly salary on average is below $100,000. In fact it can be as low as $46,480 which may sound like a pittance considering all the years of college, medical school, and residency they have gone through. It is a salary that many who works in a factory or start-up in business could make without all that time spent but having just a year of experience their salary can be as much as $120,000. The more experience an obstetrician has the higher the salary until they are making over $150,000 a year.
The obstetrician can also have a nice benefit package that can include sick days, vacation days, profit sharing, 401K, social security, pension, health insurance, life insurance, malpractice insurance, cell phone for when they are on call and more. In a private practice or as part of a group practice they have overhead expenditures that can also affect their salary.
Some of the best paying states are:
- Alabama–$242,150 yearly salary on average
- Kansas–$237,320 yearly salary on average
- California–$214,020 yearly salary on average
- Texas–$207,540 yearly salary on average
- New Jersey–$205,350 yearly salary on average
These average yearly obstetrician salary are for ones who have several years of experience.
Salary of an obstetrician in 2015
Like in any other jobs in the medical fields the salary of an obstetrician in US depends on several factors that influence a lot the earnings. For instance, your salary will be affected due to the advanced skills that you already possess. This will promote your job, making it become a lot simpler, and people will seek your assistance more often, specialization, state in which you are working with the low and high ends of the economy. Education makes a difference too, mainly the degrees and the years of training, internship, and work experience.
The salary of an obstetrician in the US ranges between $200,010 and $339,742 per year. This can be more or less, also according to the facility in which you are providing your services, and the number of demanding can be a crucial factor. For the year 2015 the salary of one of these professionals is still influenced by this factors early remembered, and the number of demanding is still growing.
Obstetrician Salary in 2016
The paying for this group is most impacted in the year 2016, in the United States, by several decisive factors. An Obstetrician income for this year is reported to increase or decrease based on the location and the duration of the career. The average payment for these professionals, in the US according to some surveys is estimated to be around $203,100 per year.
The good news, when reported to the obstetrician salaries, is that many of them receive medical coverage from their employers while other have dental insurance. To this, you can easily add the bonuses that are usually granted and that can reach up to $38,040 per while and the profit sharing that often goes up to $20,389 per year. The compensation for obstetricians is also reported to vary according to each state and the industry in which these specialists managed to found work.
The incomes of these professionals also vary according to each state and the economic flux that affects the jobs such as the cost of living in any of the regions where this career is to be found and the living expenses. The salaries have lower and higher points. The starting salary can be comprised between $46,510 per year and $99,937 per year and climbing up to $280,910 per year.
This figures will differ a lot based on the early reminded factors that are affecting a career, the industry and the facility in which you are working are other arguments added to the various incomes. Due to the characteristics of this position and due to the number of demanding this job offers great paychecks, with plenty of benefits.
There can be some financial issues that occur, though. These can be such as the healthcare reimbursements-the demand for physician’s services being affected due to the high out of pocket costs- and the medical liability coverage- higher malpractice premiums for obstetricians-, still the job prospects for these professionals are still good due to the number of demanding and the nature of the presented job.
Obstetrician salary in Canada, Australia and UK
If you choose to work out of the United States here are some of the different average yearly salaries for Canada, Australia, and UK.
- Canada—the average yearly obstetrician salary can range from CAD $56,525-CAD $137,027. The lowest average yearly salary is CAD $56,000 and the highest average yearly salary is CAD 137,000. Breaking this down to United States salary CAD $56,000 is equal to $94,000 in the United States and CAD $137,000 is equal to $232.107 in the United States.
- UK—in their 20’s the average yearly salary of an obstetrician is 20,500 ($34,582 US), in their 30’s it would be 26,787 ($41,172 US) and in their 40’s and 50’s it would be 31,707 ($43,613 US)
- Australia—here an obstetrician’s salary is high. The average high yearly obstetrician salary is AUD $514,000 which sounds very high but in US dollars that is equal to $418,318. This type of average yearly salary in the United State would take several years of work experience to reach this. The lowest average yearly obstetrician salary in Australia is $140,997 which in the United States is equal to $132,032.
Conclusion on obstetrician salary
Yes for all of the years of going to school and a residency program the starting salary for an obstetrician is pathetic but the job is really rewarding. Being an obstetrician you get to help a woman achieve her goal of becoming a mother and seeing the miracle of life but the downside is having to deal with a woman who has miscarried, had a stillbirth, or is having trouble becoming pregnant. The obstetrician salary can rise to over $100,000 on average yearly with just a few years of work experience. Also working in the right geographical location can help give them a larger salary and having a combination degree in obstetrics and gynecology can give you a larger salary.
- First Published Date: 30 June, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 19 August, 2016