Obstetrician and Gynecologist Job Description

The obstetrician and gynecologist, or OB/GYN, is a physician who specializes in women's health.

man kissing woman's forehead white holding ultrasound photo

OB/GYN doctors are often also called gynecologists, or GYNs. Physicians who practice gynecology are qualified to handle reproductive health issues, such as pre-pregnancy care and pregnancy itself. OB/GYNs also may be the primary source of women's routine health maintenance.


On average, an OB/GYN spends 2-6 years in medical school, followed by 3-7 years of residency training. Depending on the board certifications that an OB/GYN obtains and his or her area of specialty, he or she may work in a hospital delivering babies or women's clinics performing gynecological exams. Some physicians opt to run their own private practices instead. Once they finish their residency, OB/GYNs take the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) to qualify for board certification in their field.


OB/GYNs are also well-versed in a variety of treatment options, including prescription medication and surgical procedures. Some physician groups may opt to specialize in one area of women's health, such as infertility or high-risk pregnancy.


OB/GYN physicians have the following functions:

  • Perform routine gynecological exams and pap smears
  • Treat reproductive and hormonal disorders
  • Deliver babies in a hospital setting, sometimes specializing in certain types of deliveries, including C-sections and natural births
  • Prescribe and administer medications
  • Perform surgeries as necessary


OB/GYNs work in a variety of settings including private offices, hospitals and community clinics. The field of women's health is growing rapidly, so OB/GYN employment opportunities are plentiful.


OB/GYNs must have excellent medical communication skills to address the various health problems and concerns of their patients. Further, they must take on a leadership role since many women come to OB/GYNs for guidance regarding sensitive reproductive and sexual issues.

Statistics on Obstetrician and Gynecologists


  • Approximately 90 percent of OB/GYNs are generalists and begin practice after completing a four-year residency in OB/GYN. (facs.org)
  • Researchers surveyed women about their use of various physicians, finding that 56 percent aged 18 to 40 visited only an OB-GYN on an annual basis. (medicalnewstoday.com)
  • According to a 2018 article , the United States is currently facing a critical shortage of OB-GYNs, with fewer medical students choosing this specialty. (medicalnewstoday.com)
  • While 90% of gynecologists also deliver babies, obstetricians limit their practice to pregnancy and childbirth. (virginiabeachobgyn.com)

Articles On Obstetrician and Gynecologists


What is the difference between OB/GYN and gynecology?

An OB/GYN encompasses two specialties – obstetrics and gynecology – while gynecologists specialize in gynecology only. (woosterhospital.org)


What is the Difference Between an OB/GYN and a Gynecologist?

To understand the difference between an OB/GYN physician and a gynecologist, one must know that both encompasses two separate medical specialties. (swobgyn.com)


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is the premier professional membership organization for obstetrician–gynecologists. The College’s activities include producing practice guidelines for providers and educational materials for patients, providing practice management and career su... (acog.org)


Obstetricians and gynecologists: What's the difference? (medschool.ucla.edu)


Ob-Gyn: What to Expect and What to Look For in a Doctor

WebMD tells you what to expect when you visit your ob-gyn -- and how to find a doctor you're comfortable with. (webmd.com)


Obstetrics and Gynecology (facs.org)


What is an OB-GYN and what do they do?

An OB-GYN is a doctor who specializes in obstetrics (pregnancy) and gynecology (female reproductive health). In this article, we discuss what an OB-GYN is, the procedures they can perform, and their specialisms. (medicalnewstoday.com)


What Is an OB-GYN?

What does an OB-GYN do, and when should you see one? Here's what you should know before making an appointment. (healthline.com)


Obstetrics and gynecology - Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)


Obstetrics vs Gynecology: What's the Difference?

Many women see an OB/GYN provider for their women’s health needs, including pregnancy and menopause management, but did you know that OB/GYN actually encompasses two different medical specialties? Obstetrics and gynecology. Here’s a look differences between the two. Obstetrics An obstetrician is a d... (reverehealth.com)


Obstetricians and Gynecologists (bls.gov)

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