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What is an Obstetrician?

An obstetrician provides medical care for pregnant women until delivery and the postpartum checkup. .
An obstetrician focuses on labor and delivery and prenatal care.
Working as an obstetrician can sometimes be very stressful.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 August 2014
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An obstetrician is a medical specialist who focuses on labor and delivery. Obstetrics is actually a surgical sub-specialty, meaning that this healthcare professional attends surgical training and then specializes in the care of pregnant women and in surgeries that are related to labor and delivery, such as Cesarean sections. He or she typically works in a hospital environment, so that if a laboring mother experiences complications during the course of labor, she can be rushed into an operating room for treatment. The non-surgical version of this medical specialty is midwifery.

Most obstetricians see their patients throughout their pregnancies, and they also study gynecology, so that they can deal with a range of conditions related to the reproductive system. During pre-natal visits, the doctor checks to be sure that the baby is healthy, discusses steps that pregnant mothers can take to ensure that the pregnancy runs smoothly, and perform diagnostic tests to look for potential problems with the pregnancy and delivery.

If medical emergencies arise during the course of a pregnancy, this medical professional will be part of the team that cares for the patient. In some cases, an he or she may choose to specialize in high-risk pregnancies, in which case, the doctor generally sees patients on a referral basis. Some conditions that require treatment from this type of doctor include tubal pregnancies, pre-eclampsia, placentia previa, and unusual presentations of the fetus, such as a buttocks-first position, which could cause problems during delivery.

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The ideal goal is for a woman to carry a baby to term and deliver comfortably. When a woman experiences the early signs of labor, her obstetrician works with a team of labor and delivery nurses and other support staff to keep her comfortable and to monitor the baby's condition. When the labor progresses to the point of delivery, the doctor closely monitors mother and child and is present to catch the baby as it is born. Once the infant is born, the doctor assesses the health of mother and child and makes sure that no emergent conditions require treatment.

This medical specialty can be greatly enjoyable, as many people love interacting with infants and helping to birth healthy, happy babies. It can also be stressful, however, since these doctors tend to work long, irregular hours, because labor is not readily predictable, and bad outcomes in the delivery room can be emotionally draining. Malpractice insurance rates in this specialty are also extremely high, due to the inherent dangers of labor and delivery; unfortunate things can happen even in the hands of a skilled medical professional.

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Discuss this Article

anon310148
Post 25

I am thinking of being an anesthesiologist or an obstetrician.

anon279145
Post 23

At least now I know the difference between a gynecologist and an obstetrician.

anon227398
Post 21

I am now studying the expectations and qualifications of becoming an obstetric nurse. I am very proud to say that I would like to become an obstetric nurse.

raelisha
Post 20

well i never knew what an obstetrician was, until my friend told me. to me, i think its' best if i go with this career because for one, I'm a huge lover of babies. I'm actually taking care of one now. my brother is just new at having the responsibility of having a baby. so i decided to watch him for a while. now he is a healthy baby and still striving to do my best.

So since i heard of this career, i would like to follow this path.

anon144744
Post 19

I want to be a neonatal nurse. I have a friend who wants to be an obstetrician. Does anyone have any information about neonatal nursing? I would love to be in the nursery and NICU. I understand that they work with couples (moms and baby) or just babies. I love helping people and am really big into researching neonatal nurses. Please help.

-B

anon134426
Post 18

i really want to be a obstetrician and this website showed me a lot of what it takes to be one and it's great to hear something good you can do to deliver life into the world.

anon130903
Post 16

i want to be an obstetrician! this website really helped!

anon117497
Post 15

for quite a while I've never known what I've wanted to become when I've grown up and I finally found out about obstetricians. i now know what I want to be. Thanks for the helpful info wisegeek.com!

anon101569
Post 14

I'm still undecided about being a gynecologist or an obstetrician, so this article really helped. i have a problem. Which institution should i study at? which is the best?

anon86225
Post 13

i really love babies and i like to help them and their moms. That would be the best.

anon83323
Post 12

thanks for making this amazing research article. i am in middle school and for home and careers we are researching and doing a project about what we want to be when we get older and this article will definitely be sure to help out with my grade. thanks a lot and i will be sure to add this website to my favorites just in case i have to research much more later on in life. thanks a lot.

anon76183
Post 11

This article really let me know more about an obstetrician, which is something I am interested in becoming. Thanks!

anon63903
Post 10

i'm a sophomore in high school and the rough draft of my career research paper was due today but I was still missing some information, but thanks to your site i finished it!

anon55146
Post 9

I'm in middle school, and this sounds interesting. I'm mostly interested because child birth is like a miracle right before your eyes.

anon46011
Post 8

i'm a junior in high school and i'm doing my senior project on becoming an obstetrician and the amount of school i would need and i think this web page broke it down really good.

anon43748
Post 7

what courses do i need to take to become an obstetrician?

anon41787
Post 6

to become an obstetrician, what do you have to study first in your first year of college?

anon23143
Post 3

I'm a sophomore in high school and I have to write a career paper on something I want to be when I grow up. I searched your website and found this article. This article helped me a lot.

anon18593
Post 2

wow. this was a very informing passage i just read...i liked it a lot cause this is informing me about what im going to do when i finish high school.

so thank you once again for your help.

skyfromda585
Post 1

I am about to be a senior in high school this september. I am going to college and thinking about becoming an Obstetrician. i found this article really helpful, thanks.

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