Skip to content

PAs Play Vital Role in Addressing Maternal Health Crisis

The state of maternal and infant health in the U.S. is increasingly worrisome. This can be attributed, in part, to a decline in the number of obstetrics and gynecology (Ob-Gyn) physicians and midwives — despite an increase in need for their services.

However, there’s hope as more PAs continue to play a role in shaping the future of women’s health in the field of Ob-Gyn.

In a recent study, titled “Demographics of Physician Associates (PAs) in Obstetrics and Gynecology: Where They Work and How They Compare to Other PAs,” published in Obstetrics and Gynecology International, the increasing presence of PAs practicing in Ob-Gyn could offset the decline in physicians and midwives.

The study, citing data gathered by NCCPA in 2021 via the comprehensive PA Professional Profile, found that a total of 1,322 PAs self-identified as practicing in the Ob-Gyn specialty, representing 1.2% of clinically active PAs. This is a significant increase from 2013, when only 792 PAs practiced in this specialty, reflecting a 66.9% growth. Notably, 98% are women with a median age of 38, reporting high productivity, with the majority seeing more than 40 patients per week. These PAs in Ob-Gyn primarily work in office and hospital settings and earn a median self-reported annual income of $105,000 as of 2021.

Previous studies had forecasted a 7% decrease in Ob-Gyn physicians by 2030 from 50,850 to 47,490. Simultaneously, the demand for Ob-Gyn services is expected to grow by 4%, reaching 52,660 by 2030. More than 10.1 million adult women live in counties lacking an Ob-Gyn physician.

Since 1967, PAs have held a presence and played a role in Ob-Gyn. PAs have also served as obstetrical laborists in the northeast, enhancing care quality and offsetting the demands on Ob-Gyn physicians. The study’s authors summarize that “The American PA movement is expanding and brings a needed corps of specialists in Ob-Gyn.”

Read the complete report here.