careertrend article image
AlexRaths/iStock/GettyImages

What Is Obstetrics?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Obstetrics Professionals Bring Joy Into the World

A variety of jobs and careers involve obstetrics. Some require less education than others do, and some involve more time spent in school before you start earning a good wage. You can expect your wages to rise as you gain experience in your field, and you will make a good living. The best part of this type of career is caring for women’s health and seeing the excitement on a mother’s face when she first glimpses her growing baby in an ultrasound and the tears of joy when the baby arrives. Learning all about the different jobs in this area can help you to choose which best suits you.

How Many Years Do You Have to Go to School to Be a Sonographer?

A sonographer uses sound waves to see images on a screen. The most common type is an obstetrics sonographer, who monitors the growth of a baby in a pregnant woman. To pursue this career, you’ll need to complete a sonography program at an accredited school. You can graduate with an associate degree and/or a bachelor’s degree, which take two and four years to complete, respectively. You can then become certified and register as a professional in your field to find higher-paying jobs at hospitals and clinics.

What Is an Obstetrical Ultrasound?

This type of sonogram shows pictures of a baby in a pregnant woman and the mother’s ovaries and uterus. It is the preferred method for monitoring a mother-to-be and her baby as it has no harmful side effects from radiation. It is sometimes called an obstetrics scan, sonogram or ultrasound. If you are already a mother, you are very familiar with the process of having gel smeared on your stomach and the feeling of the probe passing over your tummy. An obstetrics sonographer performs this procedure to guide the probe and collect the sound waves that bounce off the fetus, and then a computer uses the sound waves to create images. One of the most exciting times in an obstetrical job is when the mother sees the first image of her baby on the monitor and hears the sound of a heartbeat.

What Is Obstetrics and Gynecology?

OB-GYN is the shortened terminology for this profession, which is a combination of two different medical specialties. Obstetrics is about pregnancy and delivering babies, and gynecology is focused on women’s health. You can be either one or the other, or both. Many people follow the path of the dual specialty to have more business; however, if you choose just one of the specialties, you can work part-time and still have time to spend with your children.

What Are Obstetrics and Gynecology Doctors?

Doctors with the dual specialty are very busy and can work long hours, especially if a patient is in labor for up to 24 hours. An OB-GYN provides both medical and surgical care for women. Obstetrics is the portion of the job where a doctor takes care of women through all phases of pregnancy and at childbirth. The doctor also takes care of the newborn babies and performs cesarean sections if needed. Gynecologists diagnose and treat disorders of any type of the female reproductive system.

An OB-GYN also cares for patients, encouraging a healthy lifestyle with exercise and correct nutrition, and helps with pregnancy planning. The doctor examines patients, runs tests and forms a diagnosis, then provides treatment options.

What Is the Difference Between an Obstetrician and a Gynecologist?

Women who want to have children or have had children usually have undergone the care of both an obstetrician and a gynecologist. Obstetricians are specialists who see patients throughout their pregnancies. Gynecologists care for women’s health at any time, not just when they are pregnant. An OB-GYN can decide to practice in both areas, or just one. OB-GYNs can also decide later in their careers to offer only gynecological services to prevent being on call 24/7 when they would be needed to deliver a baby.

What Does an Obstetric Sonographer Do?

An obstetric sonographer performs ultrasounds on women to detect a fetus, monitor its growth and development and monitor the mother while she is pregnant. Sonographers assess the growth, position and health of babies. They can discover if there are multiple babies and determine the due date. They determine the amount of amniotic fluid, look for developmental defects in the baby and check the mother for placenta previa, when the placenta is lying too low or covering the cervix.

What Does an Ultrasound Technician Do?

Ultrasound technicians do much more than perform sonograms on pregnant women; they identify and monitor many diseases and conditions. They interpret the images and present them to the physicians and other members of the healthcare team as well as maintain patient records and notes on the ultrasound. They also maintain the equipment to make certain it is sterilized and working properly. Should they specialize in obstetrics, ultrasound technicians perform prenatal ultrasounds and make sure that the probe is capturing images from all angles to assess the health of the baby.

How Much Does an OB-GYN Sonographer Make?

This career path earns an average wage of $28.81 per hour. Starting wages for an entry-level position are approximately $18.49 per hour, and wages rise as you gain experience to about $45.22 per hour in your late career.