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The Declining Number of Family Physicians Practicing Obstetrics: Rural Impact, Reasons, Recommendations and Considerations


Maternity care in the United States is in jeopardy. There is a need for physicians trained in obstetrics, including preconception, prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care. Almost 50% of counties in the United States have no obstetrical provider.1 The importance and high quality of family medicine obstetrics has been documented repeatedly2-7, but the number of family physicians providing maternity care in the United States continues to decline.8-12 This is also an international trend as reported in Australia and Canada.3,13