Does everyone in medical school learn how to deliver a baby?

Like on television when a woman goes into labor unexpectedly any medical doctor knows what to do and relies on their old training

If you got an MD, you can deliver a kid.
Likewise, paramedics can, & many firefighters and cops.
US Military Medical Corpsmen can, too.

The mother does all the hard work, and manages to do it without any training. In a normal birth, that’s all there is to do it, and mostly all anyone else present is offering is moral support.

Doctors (or midwives, or whatever other professionals) are there for the minority of cases where something goes wrong. If you don’t have any professionals present, it’ll probably still be just fine… but there’s a small chance that you’ll really wish that those professionals (and all of their equipment) were there.

Are you sure?

The first two years of medical school are all book- and lab-learning. The 3rd and 4th years are hands-on practical learning, in the form of clerkships or “rotations.” Different school have different requirements, but generally, an OB/GYN rotation is included as one of the required clerkships for most students.

My med school experience was 40 years ago, but back then at my med school every student rotated thru the Labor and Delivery unit and was expected to deliver a few babies in the process. I delivered about 6 as a student, about a hundred as a resident, and a few hundred more as a family medicine doc. 99% pleasure, 1% panic.

mrAru got EMS training thanks to the Navy, he did a rotation on obstetrics at Portsmouth Naval Hospital Va - he was part of delivering 7 or 8 babies there, and when he was doing an ER rotation there was another 1, and when he was running with VB1 ambulance he was part of 1 more in home delivery [the kid was effectively sliding out as they got there. The mother was screaming at the father because he screwed around for an hour after her telling him she was in labor, she was pissed at missing out on the ‘good drugs’ as she called them. Don’t blame her =) ]

they normally get psychiatric and pediatric training too. I met a Dr and he was sent to work with people locked up because they committed a crime but were too messed up to go to prison. They went to a state mental hospital instead. For the worst ones he made sure they had plenty of medicine to keep them calm.

So which rotations are standard for all medical students? I assume there are some that they are mandatory and others that are optional.

Everyone does obstetrics in clerkship and some do it as interns. Delivering a baby can be as easy as waiting, clamping the cord and gently pulling the placenta. Since complications are not rare and time is important, you need to understand and prepare in advance for the many things that cause difficulties - from breech, unexpected twins, cords in the wrong place, ruptured membranes, shoulder problems, lack of progress, etc.

I assume a veterinarian could as well? There’s some book I remember where a horse vet has to deliver a baby.

I was just thinking that a veterinarian could probably handle an uncomplicated human delivery.

Regarding vets: most really do not want to practice on people. It’s not considered ethical.

BUT - in a dire emergency I’ll take a vet over a non-medical bystander. Vets don’t have human specific training but they are medically trained for many species and I’d expect they could provide advanced first aid and some medical procedures that are pretty much the same across species. Even so, it would be a highly unusual circumstance where you’d really need to do that.

For that matter, if there was an unexpected child birth situation you might want to chose my old landlord over myself - I never had kids, but he helped deliver his three and in another case helped a tennant deliver hers in her living room (that wasn’t a planned event). So he has some experience with childbirth and could probably provide some decent moral support to the person doing all the actual work. And he has experience catching babies.

In truth, most of us could get through an uncomplicated human birth. It’s pretty much a matter of letting it happen and making sure the kid doesn’t hit the ground head-first. It’s the complicated ones that you need medical help for.

When I did rotations, I met an RN in an adult med/surge department who said that when she was in nursing school, her non-nursing friends said of her OB rotation, and specifically her time in the newborn nursery, “That must be so much fun!” She said she never got peed on, pooped on, or barfed on so much as she did in that newborn nursery, and added that every boy who passed through there must have had some way to tell each other, “Hey, you! That nurse over there doesn’t like babies very much. FWEEEEEEEEEE!”

And of course, there are the all-too-common situations where they really, truly don’t want to send the babies home, and this has nothing to do with socioeconomic status.

Short answer: yes. You can’t pass your Step 2 exam, thereby qualifying to eventfully be licensed to practice solo. Speaking of graduate physicians from accredited schools, regardless of wherein the world, seeking to practice in the US.

Passing Step 2 means you know how to, not that you have done it all by yourself, but that you studied and retain how to. It is a VERY rigorous, comprehensive exam.

In nursing school at Mass General I was taught how to handle emergent, unpredicted deliveries at which a traditionally prepared provider could not be present.

Retired NYS EMT chiming in. We were taught the fundamentals during our training. Some - perhaps many- municipal Fire Departments require their members to become EMT-B certified. ( EMT-Basic, opposed to other sub-categories ).

Hell, learn how to deliver a baby !! It’s all the rage- people do it all the time. :slight_smile:
And, what Chronos said. The woman giving birth is doing the heavy lifting there.

Always has.

Always will.

They do not teach Seaman Recruits during USCG basic training how to deliver a baby. Neither do they teach Seaman Apprentices at ET"A" (electronics school) how to deliver a baby. But when you’re a 3rd Class Petty Officer (ET3) being taken out on a 42 boat with a crew of 3 to make sure the radio you repaired works and it works well enough to get a distress call from an ocean liner for a medivac…

…If you have a tool pouch with a strap you hang over one shoulder it’s a good idea besides the tools to have at least 4 cable ties in there. Trust me, they can surprise you in how useful they can be.

To be fair, an uncomplicated human delivery could be handled by a sandwich. Women have been giving birth unassisted for thousands of years.

It’s also true that a lot of women used to die during childbirth and maybe that’s why the practice of baby showers came about.

“ In the United States today, about 15 women die in pregnancy or childbirth per 100,000 live births. That’s way too many, but a century ago it was more than 600 women per 100,000 births. In the 1600s and 1700s, the death rate was twice that: By some estimates, between 1 and 1.5 percent of women giving birth died. Note that the rate is per birth, so the lifetime risk of dying in childbirth was much higher, perhaps 4 percent.” : https://slate.com/technology/2013/09/death-in-childbirth-doctors-increased-maternal-mortality-in-the-20th-century-are-midwives-better.html

While vets train to practice medicine on multiple mammalian species, and while most mammals are similar in most medical ways, childbirth specifically is one point on which humans are significantly different from other mammals. A pelvis that allows for bipedal walking and a skull large enough to contain our brains both make it a lot more complicated for us than for a cat or dog. A vet could, I’m sure, handle an uncomplicated birth as well as any layman, but I wouldn’t expect them to be much better than laymen at dealing with any complications.