OBGYN is a term used for both obstetricians and gynecologists. When someone chooses to become an OBGYN, it means they have chosen to specialize in women's health needs. Their next decision is to choose whether or not they want to focus on obstetrics, gynecology or a combination of the two. The majority of OBGYNs will choose to offer a wide range of general health services for their patients, similar to that of a primary care physician.
An OBGYN can also choose to concentrate in certain subspecialties:
- Maternal-fetal medicine
- Reproductive endocrinology
- Reproductive infertility
- Gynecologic oncology
- Female pelvic medicine and reproductive surgery
OBGYN education and training
A bachelor's degree, an additional four years of medical school training and another four years of graduate-level education are all required to become an OBGYN. If an OBGYN decides to specialize in a certain area, then they must complete an additional three years of training.
an OBGYN has completed all of their training they must then pass a board certification exam to show their competency, which needs to be retaken every six years so they can continue to operate their practice.
What does an obstetrician do?
An obstetrician is a medical professional who has chosen to specialize in taking care of pregnant women and unborn babies. Their goal is to help guide a woman through her entire pregnancy by providing her with the maternal care she needs so that both she and her baby can be healthy and happy throughout the pregnancy.
An obstetrician is well trained in dealing with pregnancy-related problems in case they happen to arise. They also offer additional services, with two of the more common additional services being utilized these days being fertility treatment and performing fetal diagnostic procedures. Examples of pregnancy-related problems and procedures that an obstetrician can perform or treat:
- Problems occurring in or around the placenta
- High blood pressure that can lead to preeclampsia, a possible and serious problem for both mother and baby
- An ectopic pregnancy, which means the fetus is growing outside of the uterus
- Any fetal distress problems
- A cesarean section, also known as c-section
What does a gynecologist do?
A gynecologist is a medical professional who has chosen to specialize in taking care of a woman's reproductive health. Every woman needs to make an appointment with a gynecologist sometime in their teenage years and definitely once they become sexually active. When a woman visits a gynecologist she will undergo a pelvic exam and a pap smear, two important procedures that allow the gynecologist to know whether or not any reproductive health problems are present.
If there are, then treatment plans will be discussed to address the specific health problem at hand. Examples of health problems and conditions and procedures that a gynecologist can perform or treat:
- Bacterial and yeast infections
- Menstruation problems
- Menopause problems, including menopause-related diseases
- Cervical polyps, vaginal polyps
- Fibroids, ovarian cysts
- Endometriosis, which means the uterine tissue is growing outside of the uterus
- Uterine prolapse, which means the uterus is slipping down into the cervix or vaginal canal
- Cancer located in the ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina or fallopian tubes
- Surgical procedures, i.e. hysterectomy, tubal ligation, labiaplasty, cone biopsy, oophorectomy, salpingectomy
How to choose an obstetrician
The first step in choosing an obstetrician is to make sure that they have completed the requirements set forth by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This certification proves that they graduated from an approved medical school, completed four years of residency training and, if applicable, completed the additional three years of training if they have chosen to specialize in a certain area.
The next recommended step pregnant women should make when choosing a new obstetrician to provide them with their maternal care is to make a consultation appointment. A consultation appointment offers pregnant women the opportunity to ask any questions they have about their pregnancy, which helps them to understand how they will be treated by the obstetrician in future appointments. Women are also encouraged to ask questions about specific procedures or issues during the consultation.
When choosing a new obstetrician it is important to keep in mind how convenient it will be to go to their location, as it is essential for every pregnant woman to make it to all of her appointments. It is also important to understand that choosing an obstetrician also means choosing a delivery hospital. Asking other pregnant women or new mothers is also suggested, as well as checking out any online reviews.
How to choose a gynecologist
Just like choosing an obstetrician, the first step a woman needs to make when choosing a gynecologist is to make sure they have completed and passed all necessary requirements to practice in the field of gynecology. It is essential for a woman to feel comfortable with her gynecologist, making it highly recommended for her to make a consultation appointment with any potential candidates before making a decision.
The relationship between patient and gynecologist is one that can get very personal and for that reason, it is essential for every woman to be completely comfortable with and confident in a gynecologist's ability to provide her with the quality healthcare she needs and deserves.
Are you in need of a new OBGYN?
Choosing an OBGYN is a very personal decision. If you are currently looking for a new OBGYN, it is essential for you to choose one whom you feel both comfortable with and confident in, as they will be overseeing your health. You will need to feel comfortable in their ability to provide you with the utmost in healthcare services. You will also need to feel confident in their ability to provide you with any necessary treatment options that are specifically right for you.
Whether you are currently in need of an obstetrician, a gynecologist or a medical professional who offers a combination of the two, know that the sooner you make your choice, the sooner you can benefit from their services. We invite you to contact us today with any questions you may have or, better yet, we can go ahead and schedule you in for a consultation appointment.