You will often see physicians that are labeled as OB/GYN, referring to obstetrics and gynecology specializations. While there are obstetricians and gynecologists, many have both specializations and for good reason. These two areas of female reproductive specialization offer a more comprehensive approach to women’s health, making them complementary practices for medical professionals in this field.
What Are the Differences Between Obstetrics and Gynecology?
While obstetrics and gynecology are related, they are two separate medical practices. Both specialize in the female reproductive system, but each has its own education, certification and training process and concentrates on different areas of women’s health. In a nutshell, here are the differences between the two medical specialties:
- Obstetrics– An obstetrician specializes in pregnancy and child birth. They offer prenatal care for pregnant women and delivery of the child during labor.
- Gynecology– A gynecologist specializes in the female reproductive system. These doctors perform routine women’s exams, treat reproductive issues and provide ongoing healthcare for female reproductive wellbeing.
In short, many obstetricians are gynecologists, but a gynecologist may not be obstetricians. They are intertwined, but still separate, which is why the two practices are often combined under an OB/GYN. An obstetrician can deliver a child vaginally or through caesarean section, plus provide the care needed for a healthy pregnancy. A gynecologist is needed for the other reproductive issues that occur outside of pregnancy.
Benefits of Choosing an OB/GYN
When it comes to female reproductive healthcare, many women prefer an OB/GYN to be part of their healthcare team. While obstetrics and gynecology are similar, each has its own area of expertise. Women want a gynecologist for overall reproductive healthcare, such as birth control, menstrual issues, hysterectomies, menopause and fertility issues. However, when they are pregnant, they want an obstetrician that can provide them the specialized care they need through pregnancy and child birth. The benefits of having a physician that specializes in both obstetrics and gynecology include:
- OB/GYNs have more training and education
- One physician can handle all your women’s health needs
- No reason to find a new doctor when you become pregnant
- Post-natal care and ongoing gynecological care can be combined
Because obstetrics and gynecology are so intertwined, it is more common than not for a physician in this field to have both specialties. It is estimated that 90% of gynecologists are also obstetricians. However, many doctors in this field choose to focus on one area of women’s health, even if they are certified to do both as an OB/GYN. Some prefer to focus on office visits and reproductive health, even though they can perform deliveries and pregnancy care. Others may focus solely on care for women who are pregnant and enjoy performing pre-natal care, child delivery and post-natal care almost exclusively.
Having an OB/GYN can ensure your doctor has the training and education needed for all stages of your reproductive health, from your first menstrual period to pregnancy and on through to menopause. This can give you peace of mind and the best options for women’s health throughout your life.
At Cypress Women’s Center, we specialize in both obstetrics and gynecology at our practice. We have two board-certified OB/GYNs and highly qualified nurse practitioners on staff, as well as our exceptional medical support staff to meet all your women’s health needs.