Obstetrics is a medical specialty dealing with the fields of birth and related issues and Gynecology deals with diseases particular to women. OB is a commonly used abbreviation for obstetrics and GYN is the abbreviation for gynecology or for a gynecologist, a practitioner who specializes in treating diseases of the female reproductive organs. On the other hand, OB/GYN is short for obstetrician/gynecologist, a doctor who both delivers babies and diagnosis and treats diseases related to the female reproductive organs.
An obstetrician is a physician who specializes in the surgical care of women and their children during pregnancy, childbirth, pueperium and post-natal care. They also perform regular ultrasounds during pregnancy to determine the health of the fetus, identify any complications and know the gestational period of the fetus. Identify if there are any high risk factors in women during pregnancy, delivery and later.
A gynecologist is a physician who specializes in the medical care of women and in health of the female reproductive system. They also deal with pap smear, infections of vaginal and uterine origin, fertility problems, contraception, tubal ligations and hysterectomy.
Generally, the education and training for obstetrics and gynecology occurs concurrently. Therefore, an obstetrician/gynecologist is a physician who specializes in providing both medical and surgical care to women. They have particular expertise in pregnancy, childbirth and reproductive system disorders. This encompasses preventive care, treatment, prenatal care, pap test screening, detection of sexually transmitted diseases, and family planning.
An obstetrician/gynecologist can serve as primary physicians and also often serve as consultants to other physicians. They usually choose to specialize in the following areas:
- Acute and chronic medical conditions
- Adolescent gynecology
- Cervical and Ovarian Cancer
- Health maintenance during pregnancy
- Operative gynecology
- Pregnancy and delivery
- Preventive health
Obstetrics & Gynecology Subspecialties in India
In the field of obstetrics and gynecology there are some major recognized subspecialties. The same are as follows-
- Gynecologic Oncology: This is concerned mainly with consultation and comprehensive management of patients with gynecologic cancer. Being a specialist in gynecologic oncology would require extensive knowledge of major treatments of cancer, diagnosis and complications.
- Maternal & Fetal Medicine: This is concerned with the care and consultation of patients with complications in pregnancy. Maternal and fetal medicine requires obstetrics knowledge in medical and surgical complications of fetus and mother, present approaches of diagnosis, treatment and newborn care.
- Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility: This is primarily concerned with the management of complex problems relating to reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Reproductive endocrinology and infertility requires knowledge of diagnosis and treatment of endocrinology and infertility disorders.
- Urogynecology / Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery: This is a surgical subspecialty. It is primarily concerned with the health of the female urinary tract and surgery as a treatment. Urogynecology requires knowledge of complex benign pelvic conditions, pelvic floor dysfunction, urinary tract disorders and reconstructive pelvic surgery.
- Family planning: This gynecologic subspecialty provides training in termination of pregnancy (abortion) and contraception.
Other obstetrics and gynecology subspecialty includes pediatric gynecology, adolescent gynecology, advanced laparoscopic surgery, and menopausal and geriatric gynecology.
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