A range of pressures means not enough new doctors are going into the field of obstetrics. What can be done to attract more people into the specialty?
The United States is facing a shortage of medical doctors, and this shortage is especially acute in the field of obstetrics and gynecology.
In 2017, a report from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists projected a shortage of up to 22,000 obstetricians by 2050. Already, more than half of all counties in the U.S. lack a single OB-GYN. These primarily rural counties are home to more than 10 million women.
It goes without saying that this lack of access could have profound negative consequences. As fewer women receive prenatal care, we can expect to see the nation’s already troubling maternal mortality rate rise.
As the CDC reports, maternal mortality has been climbing steadily for the past 25 years (rising from 17.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2018 to 23.8 in 2020), and the U.S. now ranks last in maternal mortality among OECD nations despite spending two and a half times the OECD average.