During a patient's nine months of pregnancy, an obstetrician provides specialized care to expectant mothers and and helps them prepare for their deliveries. If you have a caring personality and a natural love for newborns, a career in obstetrics could be for you. Not all obstetricians care for the same patients; some specialize in high-risk pregnancies, while others prefer patients with minimal foreseeable complications. However, they all share many of the same responsibilities.
Obstetricians care for a pregnant patient through her entire pregnancy. An obstetrician will see her patient once a month until the third trimester, when visits increase as the patient nears her due date. If there are any indications of risk to the patient or her baby, the obstetrician may increase the visits long before reaching the third trimester. This care will include not only visits specific to the pregnancy, but for any other health issues; such as common ailments, aches, pains and mental health concerns.
Many obstetricians contract with hospitals to care for patients who do not have a doctor or whose doctor is in another area. This means that you may find yourself called into the hospital at odd hours to care for a woman in labor whom you have never before met. Obstetricians make hospital rounds anytime their patient is in the hospital, whether in labor-and-deliver, postpartum or antepartum departments.
One of the most rewarding parts of being an obstetrician is seeing a new baby into the world. The main job of an obstetrician, once her patient has reached nine months gestation, is to help get the baby out of the mother's body and into her arms. Obstetricians deliver babies both naturally and through Caesarean section. During a C-section delivery, an obstetrician typically has a team of nurses, anesthesiologists and other health professionals prepared to help with the delivery.
Like other physicians, obstetricians must complete mounds of paperwork for every patient. From medical histories, to notes about each visit, an obstetrician's paperwork is vital to the care of her patients. Many obstetricians use medical transcription companies to help prepare paperwork; but this aspect of care remains a considerable time requirement for the doctor.
2016 Salary Information for Physicians and Surgeons
Physicians and surgeons earned a median annual salary of $204,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, physicians and surgeons earned a 25th percentile salary of $131,980, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $261,170, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 713,800 people were employed in the U.S. as physicians and surgeons.