Obstetric Medicine training can be acquired through two main training pathways: physician training and obstetrics and gynaecology.
The MacDonald Obstetric Medicine Society actively supports training from both approaches as however and whoever delivers obstetric medicine care benefits through the sharing experience and knowledge.
Historically, only a small number of centres have had locally-funded opportunities for training in Obstetric Medicine. There was no curriculum or formalised recognition of this training and there was great geographical variation in training opportunities. This has changed dramatically in recent years, and there is now a formalised credential in Obstetric Medicine, created by the Royal College of Physicians for physician trainees. For the first time, in 2023–2024, the training in Obstetric Medicine will be nationally coordinated, and be available in many more centres than was previously the case. Details about recruitment to these training posts can be found here.
Obstetric medicine can also be chosen as a specialist skill for trainees in Acute Medicine and more details about specialty skills can be found here.
If you would like to discuss training opportunities further, then please contact us and we can put you in touch with people appropriate for your training background/geographical area.
Many units around the country do not have obstetric physicians, but rely on trained obstetricians and physicians (often with an interest and experience in looking after pregnant women) in provided joint, multidisciplinary clinics.
Obstetric medicine is part of the RCOG Core Curriculum and is a recognised advanced training specialty module (ATSM) which can be undertaken during the last 2 years of specialty O&G training. Please see here for more information.
Further training in maternal medicine is possible through subspecialty training in Maternal and Fetal medicine. Theoretically, it should be possible to minimise fetal medicine training and focus on maternal medicine, however the reality is that many units (rightly or wrongly) concentrate on fetal medicine since this requires skills, knowledge and acquisition of invasive techniques that simply take time (several years) to acquire.
Arguably the best way to train as an obstetrician is to take time out to do internal medicine training and acquire MRCP(UK), either at the beginning (prior to run-through training) or around ST6-7. However, for many this will be difficult due to the expectations of the RCOG run-through training pathway (difficulty negotiating both time out-of-programme and doing the medical rotation itself) and family and/or other commitments. Depending on your views of obstetrics, the obvious downside to training via the obstetric route is that you will become an obstetrician and therefore be expected to provide acute obstetrics. For many physician-types, this is a deal breaker!