Choosing your specialty: Obstetrics and Gynaecology

If variety is the spice of life for you, then obstetrics and gynaecology could be a fantastic career choice, as you care for pregnant woman, her unborn child and the management of diseases specific to women. What makes this section of medicine so intriguing is that you are generally dealing with healthy women, but unexpected challenges or issues could arise at any given time to provide complications. The work includes a large number of hands-on procedures, both in obstetrics and gynaecology, so acquiring practical skills as well as maintaining clear, structured decision making are key parts of the training programme.

There are also many options for you to sub specialise in areas such as high-risk obstetrics, fertility care or minimal access surgery if you want to delve in to more detail. Obstetrics and gynaecology is a specialty that has really come on in leaps and bounds over the past 30 years as technological advancements and procedures have been fine tuned and developed, making it an excitingly modern area of medicine.

obs and gynae

About 35% of births are undertaken by an obstetrician, so your day could include instrumental delivery or caesarean section, as an emergency or planned procedure. Within gynaecology, operative procedures range from those related to problems such as miscarriage and abnormal bleeding, to major abdominal surgery in the event of gynaecological cancers. The work is mainly done on a shift basis, and you could be working in any of the following areas:

  • theatre
  • outpatients
  • labour wards
  • scanning or other specialist clinics
  • community and outreach clinics.
  • Some doctors in this specialty now work completely in the community

Is this specialty for you?

If you fancy a career in obs and gynae then why not check out whether you have the following key personal skills:

  • good communication skills
  • being able to work as a member of a team
  • ability to make decisions under pressure
  • ability to sympathise and be non-judgmental
  • manual dexterity
  • leadership abilities
  • the ability to cope with your own stress and other people’s
  • mental and physical stamina

You will be called upon to treat a range of conditions. In obstetrics most women, although pregnant, are otherwise fit and healthy. However, others will have acute or chronic medical problems that complicate their pregnancy. In gynaecology, patients range from those who have chronic disorders which are not life threatening (but interfere significantly with quality of life), to those where an acute emergency presentation is the first indication of a gynaecological problem. The specialty covers all aspects of women’s health, from paediatric and adolescent gynaecological problems through to later years.