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Many Rural US Counties Lack OB/GYNs

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Rural Blog

Nearly half of the counties in the United States lack an obstetrician or gynecologist, reports The Rural Blog. Most of these counties are rural.

And the numbers aren’t expected to get any better. The nation's female population is expected to grow by 18 percent in the next decade and a half. But the number of medical school graduates going into obstetrics and gynecology residency programs isn’t growing to meet the new population requirements. And what few OB/GYNs there are tend to prefer living in urban centers.

The solution for states that lack rural OB-GYN services may be to increase the number of midwives. In addition, allowing midwives to play a greater role in offering services would help ease the problem. Nurse midwives are registered nurses who also complete an accredited graduate school course of study in midwifery. Half of all states currently require midwives to practice under the supervision of a doctor.