Becoming an Obstetrician
Becoming an obstetrician requires years of education and training that first starts with obtaining a college degree. This is followed by four years of medical school and acceptance into a four-year residency program focused on a combination of gynecology (women’s health) and obstetrics.
During this post-doctoral training period, physicians develop advanced skills that allow them to care for women throughout pregnancy and beyond. This includes management of complications that can occur during the pregnancy, birth or post-partum phases.
An obstetrician must be well versed in all areas of medicine since virtually every disease state can affect pregnancy. Obstetricians also receive extensive surgical training.
Obstetricians that are board-certified have taken and passed a tested administered by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The certification is designed to help maintain the highest professional standards in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Why an Obstetrician?
Although some family practitioners and nurse midwives do deliver babies, obstetricians are the only physician group that has received specialized training enabling them to care for high-risk pregnancies or pregnant women with serious medical conditions. In addition, OB physicians are skilled in managing preeclampsia, placenta previa and other complications of pregnancy.
Obstetricians are also trained to perform interventions such as cesarean section and episiotomy, when necessary, and are highly qualified to care for both mother and baby throughout the entire pregnancy. Most obstetricians are in private or group practices but some practice in hospital settings or are involved in academia.
When Do Women Need an Obstetrician?
Obstetricians who also practice gynecology typically provide ongoing care for established patients before, during and after a pregnancy. Pregnant women who do not currently have an OBGYN should schedule an appointment with an obstetrician as soon as possible to get to know the physician and become acquainted with practice policies, hospital privileges, on-call coverage, and the physician’s attitude toward important issues that may arise during pregnancy.
Nathan Thomas, MD of Dallas Obstetrics and Gynecology specializes in obstetrics and gynecology. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School – San Antonio followed by an internship and residency at the Phoenix Integrated Residency Program. He is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as well as a Diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Thomas is currently accepting both new gynecology and obstetric patients.