A survey of active members of the American Academy of Family Physicians was conducted to determine the effect of the practice of obstetrics by family physicians on patient age distribution, physician work load, and physician income. A questionnaire was mailed to 800 randomly selected physicians; the survey response rate was 60.4%. Almost 20% of all respondents had never provided obstetrical care of any type. Another 40% had provided obstetrics previously but had discontinued this service, while the remaining 40% currently provided obstetrical care. Physicians who provided obstetrical services reported a significantly higher mean proportion of children and a significantly lower proportion of middle-aged and elderly adults in their patient panels than did physicians who do not provide obstetrics. Those physicians who had never offered obstetrics saw approximately the same number of patients and worked approximately the same number of hours as did those who provided low-risk, routine obstetrics; however, the former group reported a significantly higher average annual income than did the latter group.