Obstetrics and Gynecology


Obstetrics is a medical specialty focused on caring for a mother and child during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period after a child is born. Gynecologists are trained to diagnose and treat problems with the female reproductive system.

What is it?

Obstetrics and gynecology, often referred to as OB/GYN, addresses the female reproductive system. Prominent areas of this specialty are infertility issues, contraception, pregnancy, and childbirth. In contemporary medicine, it is rare to have a gynecologist who is not also an obstetrician or visa versa.  Together, these titles encompass the care of the uterus, ovaries, vagina, pregnancy, and childbirth.  Obstetrics and gynecology provide a comprehensive service to women’s health.

What are the subspecialties? 

Subspecialties of obstetrics and gynecology include gynecology oncology, maternal fetal medicine, urogynecology/reconstructive pelvic surgery, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility.  People with fertility issues and hormone imbalances will need the help of a reproductive endocrinologist to try and conceive a child.

What are the commonly associated medical diseases or symptoms? 

Obstetrics and Gynecology deal with many different issues since they are taking care of the woman and potential child.  Some common diseases that could affect a woman’s health are sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), endometriosis, pregnancy, infertility, and ectopic pregnancies.  An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterine cavity.  The embryo typically will implant in one of the fallopian tubes and this is known as a tubal pregnancy. This condition can be fatal to the mother if not treated urgently and will never result in a fetus.

What are the commonly associated medical procedures? 

There are a variety of different procedures a woman may undergo including a hysterectomy, tubal ligation, laparoscopy, oophorectomy, or cesarean section.  A cesarean section, commonly known as a C-Section, is the surgical delivery of a baby.  This can be necessary if complications are detected in the pregnancy or while in labor.

Are there any preventative measures I can take?

After a woman goes through puberty, it is important for her to get yearly check-ups and screenings to help ensure the health of her reproductive organs.  Receiving vaccinations against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can prevent most cases of cervical cancers.  Educating women about sexually transmitted infections, contraceptives, and sexual health can help to ensure a healthier lifestyle.  Healthy diets and exercise can also assist contraception practices and hormonal balance.

What are the common misconceptions about this specialty? 

One of the common misconceptions about this specialty is how often a woman should visit their OB/GYN physician.  Although it does depend on a woman’s age and specific condition, a pelvic exam should be performed at least once a year.  Some women believe that the only reason to go is if there is a presenting issue, however visiting an OB/GYN doctor yearly can be beneficial in detecting preventable medical issues.


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