Do women prefer female obstetricians?

Elizabeth A. Howell, Birdette Gardiner, John Concato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To investigate gender preferences for obstetricians in a hospital setting and to examine its relationship to patient satisfaction. METHODS: Using methods of qualitative analysis, we interviewed a convenience sample of 67 obstetric patients during their postpartum hospital stay, asking open-ended questions about gender preferences of health care providers and satisfaction with health care. RESULTS: Overall, 58% of patients (n = 39) had no preference for physician gender, 34% (n = 23) preferred female physicians, and 7% (n = 5) preferred male physicians. Physicians’ interpersonal style, communication style, and technical expertise were considered important characteristics by patients. Although most patients had no preference for physician gender, the majority of patients preferred a female nurse. Patient satisfaction scores were not associated with physician gender. CONCLUSION: Our study found that a majority of women did not prefer a female obstetrician. Our results suggest that physician gender is less important to patients than other physician characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1035
Number of pages5
JournalObstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2002


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