Authored by Revere Health

What Does OB/GYN Stand For?

January 17, 2017 | OB/GYN

Finding the Right Doctor - High Risk-Pregnancy

Proper care of reproductive organs, especially during or around pregnancy, can go a long way in preventing many of the common conditions that women experience. In many cases, preventive care can reduce the need for expensive, invasive treatments that may become necessary if the right precautions aren’t taken earlier in life.

There are two kinds of doctors who specialize in this sort of treatment: obstetricians and gynecologists. The two practices are closely related, and may even be merged into a classification called “OB/GYN.” Let’s look at the two fields, and what to expect when visiting these doctors.


A gynecologist provides more generalized care, and deals with women’s overall reproductive health. A gynecologist is especially focused on the health of the reproductive tract. There are a few procedures your doctor might suggest to remove the reproductive tract if certain diseases or conditions develop.


An obstetrician also deals with the reproductive system, but specializes more specifically in pregnancy and childbirth. Obstetricians care for women during pregnancy and handle the delivery of the baby when the time is right. If there are any special needs during pregnancy – a Caesarean section or a need to turn the baby inside the womb, for instance – an obstetrician handles these.

Both gynecologists and obstetricians require special medical training, and in many cases, the two fields overlap or combine. A doctor can become licensed in both areas with four years of additional residency on top of their typical medical school requirements, and if they choose to do so, they take on the title of “OB/GYN.”

OB/GYN Visits

Many women feel nervous about seeing an OB/GYN, and while this is totally natural, it’s important to remember that they’re there to keep you healthy and prevent disease. It’s generally recommended that girls start seeing an OB/GYN between the ages of 13 and 15, or whenever they become sexually active.

A typical OB/GYN visit is simple and straightforward. Some of the steps may include:

  • Basic health checkup – weight, blood pressure, blood or urine tests, etc.
  • Personal history – family, health, any previous conditions
  • Examination of outside of the vagina
  • Examination of interior reproductive organs – doctor will bend your knees and separate your legs, then use a device to hold the vagina open and check both it and the cervix. The process is usually painless, and patients only feel a little bit of pressure.
  • Pap test – a test on cells in the cervix to check for cancer or other issues. This doesn’t necessarily need to be done at every OB/GYN appointment, but doing it at regular intervals as a precaution is a good idea.
  • STD test – test for sexually transmitted diseases, if you’re sexually active
  • Internal bimanual exam – where the doctor gently places one or two fingers in the vagina and the other hand on the abdomen to feel reproductive organs in the body and find any issues.
  • Breast exam to check for lumps or other issues
  • Rectal exam if necessary

Common Topics

It’s important to think of OB/GYN appointments as a chance to check in on one of your body’s most important areas. Your doctor will ask you questions to help make sure nothing is missed. Some of the topics you may be asked about, or should consider asking about if you’ve had any problems include:

  • Sexual activity – how frequent it is, number of partners, any issues during sex
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Menstruation issues
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Vaccines
  • Birth control

Remember that it’s natural to have concerns, and your OB/GYN is there to work as your partner with any of these concerns. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for clarification.


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 to Expect From an Ob-Gyn Visit.” WebMD.

“What Is an Obstetrician?” WebMD.

“Obstetricians and Gynecology – What’s the Difference? Is There One?” Blue Ride OB/GYN Associates.


The Live Better Team

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.