Most women see an OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist) and assume that their specialties are the same as every other doctor who specializes in women’s health. In reality, an OB/GYN is a medical practitioner who specializes in both the field of gynecology and the field of obstetrics.
It is important to note, though, that while gynecology and obstetrics are closely linked, they are not mirror images of one another. Let’s take a look at the differences and similarities of the two.
What Is Obstetrics?
The specialty of obstetrics focuses on the health of a pregnant woman, childbirth, the health of the woman and the baby during delivery, and the baby’s well-being thereafter if complications arise. Obstetricians are the ones who are focused on delivering babies and are trained to handle myriad complications that are common with childbirth.
If you become pregnant and you experience any complications, such as an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside of your uterus), your obstetrician is properly equipped to handle it. If your baby is in distress or you have pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and possible organ damage), your obstetrician may recommend that you have a C-section in order to get your baby out safely – and to keep you out of harm’s way.
An obstetrician can also help you with fertility questions and with any issues conceiving.
What Is Gynecology?
A gynecologist is concerned with treating women and handling all aspects of a woman’s or teenage girl’s reproductive health. Women can begin seeing a gynecologist every year just after puberty.
In order to stay up-to-date on your reproductive health screenings, it’s important that women see their gynecologist at least once a year for a checkup – especially once you become sexually active. A gynecologist is the specialist who will conduct yearly Pap smears, answer your questions about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), and give you a full pelvic exam and manual breast exam.
If you decide to go on birth control or wish to discuss issues or complications regarding contraceptives, your gynecologist is the most knowledgeable and helpful point of contact.
Who Does Gynecological Surgery?
Beyond prescriptions and yearly checkups, your gynecologist is likely also a trained surgeon. Should you decide to get your “tubes tied” (otherwise known as a tubal ligation), or if you need to get a hysterectomy or have an ovarian cyst removed, it will be performed by a licensed gynecologist.
Don’t let the terminologies throw you off, because many gynecologists are also certified obstetricians. Many women have their healthy babies delivered by the same doctor who has been treating them since puberty.
OB/GYN in South Florida
It is a common misconception that an OB/GYN is only for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. In actuality, your gynecologist and your obstetrician can be one and the same.
Get the specialized and comprehensive care you need from our friendly and capable staff at Lady’s Care Center. Please contact us at (954) 538-1700 to schedule a consultation at our Miramar office. We look forward to working with you!