Obstetrics and Gynecologist
An obstetrician is a physician who has successfully completed specialized education and training in the management of pregnancy, labor, and pueperium (the time-period directly following childbirth).
A gynecologist is a physician who has a successfully completed specialized education and training in the health of the female reproductive system, including the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases.
Typically, the education and training for both fields occurs concurrently. Thus, an obstetrician/gynecologist is a physician specialist who provides medical and surgical care to women and has particular expertise in pregnancy, childbirth, and disorders of the reproductive system. This includes preventative care, prenatal care, detection of sexually transmitted diseases, Pap test screening, and family planning.
An obstetrician/gynecologist, commonly abbreviated as OB/GYN, can serve as a primary physician and often serve as consultants to other physicians. OB/GYNs can have private practices, work in hospital or clinic settings, and maintain teaching positions at university hospitals. OB/GYNs may also work public health and preventive medicine administrations.
OB/GYNs have a broad base of knowledge and can vary their professional focus. Many develop unique practices, providing high-quality health care for women. OB/GYNs may choose to specialize in the following areas:
- Acute and chronic medical conditions
- Adolescent gynecology
- Behavioral problems
- Health maintenance during pregnancy
- Operative gynecology
- Pregnancy and delivery
- Preventative health
- Urinary tract disorders
There are four recognized subspecialties in the field of obstetrics/gynecology: gynecologic oncology, maternal/fetal medicine, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, and urogynecology/reconstructive pelvic surgery. Each subspecialty has its own certification exams administered by ABOG, and physicians can become certified in one or more of them. Certification is valid provided the primary certification in obstetrics and gynecology is up-to-date.
- Gynecologic Oncology
- Concerned with consultation and comprehensive management of patients with gynecologic cancer
- Requires knowledge of major cancer treatments, diagnosis, and complications of oncology
- Maternal/Fetal Medicine
- Concerned with the care and consultation of patients with complications of pregnancy
- Requires knowledge of obstetrics, medical and surgical complications of mother and fetus, current approaches to diagnosis and treatment, and newborn adaptation
- Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
- Concerned with the management of complex problems relating to reproductive endocrinology and infertility
- Requires knowledge of diagnosis and treatment of endocrinology and infertility disorders
- Urogynecology/Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery
- Classified as surgical subspecialty
- Concerned with the health of the female urinary tract and surgery as a treatment
- Requires knowledge of complex benign pelvic conditions, lower urinary tract disorders, pelvic floor dysfunction, and reconstructive pelvic surgery