Derived from the Latin word “obstare” meaning to stand by, obstetrics is a surgical specialty that deals with the total care of women and the process of pregnancy from the first trimester to childbirth to puerperium – the period that directly follows childbirth. An Obstetrician focuses on women undergoing a difficult or complicated pregnancy. Because of the wonderful occurrence of life through childbirth, many medical students are drawn to this career path.

Among the responsibilities of the Obstetrician during pregnancy and delivery are:

• Monitoring the health condition of the pregnant woman who have undergone screening for risk problems
• Performing standard pregnancy examinations such as blood pressure monitoring
• Health teaching the pregnant woman on the process of pregnancy and the developmental stages of the baby
• Diagnosing impressions on fetal abnormalities
• Ultrasounds
• Formation of a birthing plan
• Referral of soon-to-be mothers to other specialists to support and observe the duration of pregnancy
• Delivering the newborn as well as conduct the first examination to make certain that the newborn is free from any abnormalities and potential problems
• Proper documentation of the treatments carried out to both the mother and the newborn

The basis of a patient’s frequent health visits is follow-up on the various risk factors and potential resources noted during the previous health check-ups. An Obstetrician can also act as a primary health care provider and oftentimes serve as a consultant to other doctors. Obstetricians can choose to work in a private practice, in the hospital or clinical settings, work as professors or other teaching positions at university hospitals or become public health workers in the primary preventive measures in medication administration.

Obstetricians can also opt to specialize in any of the following areas:

• Pubescent gynecology
• Behavioral crisis
• Cancer
• Acute and Chronic health conditions
• Endocrinology
• Proper health maintenance of the pregnant woman
• Problems with infertility
• Disease prevention measures
• Urinary Tract Disorders
• Sexually-transmitted Diseases
• Maternal and Fetal medicine
• Critical care medicine
• Oncology

The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) is responsible for setting the education and training requirements of Obstetricians and Gynecologists alike. In order for a person to become an Obstetrician, he or she must have finished or graduated from one of the approved medical schools; completed a residency program in OB/GYN for the time span of at least four years which should also be recognized by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education or ACGME ; must have undergone clinical rotations in the field of obstetrics, gynecology, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology and ultrasonography; undergone a six-month residency in the role of a primary and preventive health care provider which includes experience in the in-patient and ambulatory care, breast disease diagnosis and management of dysfunctions of the lower urinary tract; reading and interpretation of diagnostic pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound results; constantly updated in patient care responsibilities in each year of training; and serve as a senior resident physician during the last year.

After all the requirements have been met, the physicians will then be allowed to obtain a board certificate after taking the examinations provided for by the ABOG. A successful board examination allows the physician to earn the status of Obstetrics and Gynecology which is necessary in acquiring a subspecialty certification. For physicians who have obtained their status after the year 1986, he or she must once again complete a recertification which takes about 10 years to process in order to maintain his or her certified status. If the certification was obtained before the year 1986, the physician is given the option to take a recertification process voluntarily.