Study Shows Family Medicine Obstetrics Practitioners Deliver Care Comparable to OB/GYNs

Family Medicine ObstetricsA recent study published in the Winter 2014 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Medicine concluded that the care delivered by family medicine physicians is comparable to obstetrics care provided by OB/GYN specialists. This conclusion is reinforced and demonstrated when a physician becomes board certified through the Board of Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics® (BCFMO), which is administered by the American Board of Physician Specialties®.

The data compiled during the eight-year period between Jan. 1, 2003 and Dec. 31, 2011 demonstrates that a qualified, experienced practitioner of family medicine obstetrics is perfectly capable of performing all of the delivery and post-delivery responsibilities associated with the OB/GYN specialty, including high-risk pregnancies and pre-term deliveries. This is particularly significant in under-served rural areas, where family medicine physicians often are called upon to provide care across a wide spectrum of specialties. Furthermore, the study shows that the overall cesarean rate of family medicine obstetricians is lower than the rates for OB/GYN specialists, while the rates of complications are virtually the same for both groups. The bottom line − family medicine practitioners who provide obstetrics care can work independently of OB/GYN backup.

Eligibility Requirements of the BCFMO

A qualified family medicine physician can demonstrate his or her ability to provide the best obstetrics care available through board certification from the BCFMO®.

To be eligible to apply for initial certification with Surgical Qualifications, candidates must satisfy the general requirements of the ABPS. These include being a graduate of a recognized U.S., Canadian, or international allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine, and holding a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada. The BCFMO has its own eligibility requirements for two distinct tracks—clinical practice and fellowship.

Requirements for the clinical practice track include successfully completing an accredited ACGME, AOA, or CFPC residency and at least five years of ongoing clinical practice delivering obstetrical care.

Requirements for the fellowship track include satisfactorily completing within the last five years a 12-month, full-time fellowship recognized by the BCFMO.

For a list of family medicine obstetrics fellowships that meet the standards of the BCFMO, click here.

Both pathways require evidence of having performed at least 100 vaginal deliveries and 50 cesarean sections.

You can find out more about the eligibility requirements of the BCFMO here.

The ABPS Invites Qualified Physicians to Apply for BCFMO Certification


For more information about becoming board certified in Family Medicine Obstetrics through the BCFMO, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists®, Inc.

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