Many women see an OB/GYN provider for their women’s health needs, including pregnancy and menopause management, but did you know that OB/GYN actually encompasses two different medical specialities? Obstetrics and gynecology.
Here’s a look differences between the two.
An obstetrician is a doctor who specializes in the care of a pregnant woman and her unborn baby. These specialists are trained to handle a variety of potential complications or situations that may occur during pregnancy and the birthing process, including:
- Ectopic pregnancy: a pregnancy in which the fetus grows outside of the uterus
- Fetal distress: signs before and during childbirth that may signal the fetus may not be doing well
- Placenta issues
- High blood pressure: often a precursor to pre-eclampsia, a potentially serious condition
- Cesarean section
An obstetrician is also able to guide a mother safely through the entire experience from conception to delivery to the postpartum period. Other services offered by obstetricians include:
- Fertility treatment
- Fetal diagnostic procedures
- NICU care (this may also be handled by a pediatrician)
Gynecologists focus on the non-pregnancy aspects of a woman’s reproductive health. Women often begin seeing a gynecologist when they become sexually active or at the onset of puberty if needed. Women visit their gynecologist through menopause and beyond.
Regular gynecological exams are important for a woman’s health. Gynecologists perform standard examinations, such as Pap tests and pelvic exams. They may also be seen for diagnosis and/or treatment of a variety of conditions, including:
- Cancer of the ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina or fallopian tubes
- Prolapse: a condition in which the pelvic organs slip forward or downward within the body, often after menopause in women
- Yeast or bacterial infections
- Painful intercourse
- Irregular menstruation or pain during menstruation.
- Other menopause-related diseases
- Endometriosis: a painful condition in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus
- Cervical and vaginal polyps
- Fibroids: compact tumors that develop in the uterus
- Ovarian cysts
In addition, a gynecologist can perform surgical procedures on reproductive organs. Some of the most common procedures include:
- Hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus
- Oophorectomy: Removal of the ovaries
- Salpingectomy: Removal of the fallopian tubes
- Tubal ligation: Permanent birth control surgery
- Cone biopsy: Removal of precancerous cells from the cervix after a Pap test
- Labiaplasty: Surgical reshaping of external genitalia
Many practices choose to combine the obstetrician and gynecologist specialties to provide more comprehensive women’s care.
Obstetricians/gynecologists at Revere Health OB/GYN provide a full range of healthcare services to women throughout all stages of their lives including; puberty, child-bearing years, menopause.
“What is the Difference Between Obstetrics and Gynecology?” Virginia Beach Obstetrics & Gynecology. http://www.virginiabeachobgyn.com/blog/what-is-the-difference-between-obstetrics-and-gynecology/
“What is the Difference Between Obstetrics and Gynecology?” Surgical Gynecology Center of Excellence.