What they do

Obstetrics known as obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) deals with women's health. Obstetricians are responsible for the health of mother and fetus during, before and after pregnancy. The role can vary from monitoring normal pregnancy to quick decision making during obstetric emergencies such as severe pre-eclampsia or postpartum haemorrhage.

Obstetrics is strongly linked to gynaecology - diagnoses and treatment of disorders of the female reproductive system.

There are approximately 74 O&G specialists practising in Western Australia. 90% practise in the metropolitan area with 22% female.

Working conditions

Obstetricians are referred patients from general practitioners. Their practice may take place in a number of different settings including outpatient clinic, inpatient wards, operating theatres and delivery suits.

Most obstetricians work long and irregular hours. There is an on-call requirement and frequently weekend / night disruptions. More obstetricians are beginning to work part time or in job share arrangements.

Tools and technologies

Obstetricians should be familiar with a variety of tools and technologies including:

  • ultrasonography and other imaging techniques
  • fetal tests including cardiotocography
  • serum screening, amniocentesis and CVS
  • surgical instruments
  • catheters
  • neonate resuscitation

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become an obstetrician, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in obstetrics.

In Western Australia, postgraduate courses in medicine are offered by the University of Notre Dame and the University of Western Australia. These degrees usually take four years to complete. Entry requirements include completion of a bachelor degree in any discipline. You must also sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test and attend an interview at your chosen institution. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

On completion of the postgraduate medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency). To specialise in obstetrics, doctors can apply to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.


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