Obstetrics and gynaecology, also known as ob/gyn, is a branch of medicine that specialises in female care during pregnancy and childbirth as well as in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to the female reproductive system.
The two medical specialties also focus on other female health issues such as menopause, hormone problems, contraception and infertility. For a general idea about the two medical specialties, make sure you continue reading this article until you understand how they differ from each other.
Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: What Do They Do?
While the two medical specialties are often inter-related, doctors can choose to further specialise in one of the medical branches. Let’s take a look at what each medical branch does.
Obstetricians deal with the care of pregnant women, their unborn child, labour and delivery, and the immediate period after childbirth. Their responsibility lies in making sure that the mother and child receive the best prenatal care for labour and smooth delivery without any complication. Should the mother and child need immediate intervention, an obstetrician will know what to do to ensure that it’s done quickly and safely.
Gynaecologists, on the other hand, deal with any ailment concerning the reproductive organs such as the uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, ovaries, and vagina. They may also treat related problems in the bowel, bladder and urinary system as these are closely related to the female reproductive organs.
For a doctor to be certified as an obstetrician or a gynaecologist, they must complete a minimum of four years of residency training after completing medical school. During their residency, doctors learn about reproductive issues and other health-related issues in females. That includes diagnosis, treatment, management, and prevention.
Areas of Specialisation
OB-GYN doctors can choose from various specialties. Some may opt to specialise in obstetrics and care for pregnant women while some may offer gynaecological care and not deliver babies. Some may even choose to specialise in one or more subspecialties. These include:
- Maternal-foetal medicine – Specialists who care for patients with high-risk pregnancies and related medical conditions. You may see this specialist if you have chronic or gestational high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, blood-clotting disorders, and premature labour.
- Reproductive endocrinology and infertility – Specialists who address issues related to infertility and the glands and hormones of the endocrine system. Should you wish to get pregnant but have trouble conceiving, this specialist may help to suggest the suitable assisted reproductive technology for you.
- Gynaecologic oncology – Oncologists who diagnose and treat cancers of the female reproductive system. This includes cancer in the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and vulva.
- Female pelvic medicine and reproductive surgery – Specialists who focus on treating women with urinary tract disorders. They also focus on disorders of the muscle and connective tissue located beneath a woman’s pelvis.
Difference between a Gynaecologist and Obstetrician
Many people think that OB/GYN doctors specialise in the same thing, but it actually encompasses two specialties as mentioned above. Here are the differences between the two.
Obstetricians deal with all aspects of pregnancy, from prenatal to postnatal care. They deliver babies, while gynaecologists don’t. Obstetricians also provide therapies to help you conceive.
Should you deliver a premature baby, the obstetrician can guide you in caring for your premature baby. Additionally, they will ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.
Obstetricians are trained to handle pregnancy complications such as ectopic pregnancy, signs of foetal distress, placenta issues, preeclampsia, as well as delivering your baby through a Caesarean section. So, you’re in good hands when you deliver your baby.
After you have delivered your baby and are dealing with issues such as postpartum depression, obstetricians can help you and guide you through tough times.
Gynecologists specialise in caring for the reproductive health of women from the time they get their first period up to menopause. They also diagnose and treat conditions that affect the reproductive system such as irregular menstruation, vaginal infections, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, cancer, etc.
Unlike the obstetricians, gynaecologists perform screenings such as breast exams, pap smears, and pelvic exams. Not only that, but they also perform hysterectomies and tubal ligation s. The provision of human papillomavirus (HPV) shots to protect against cancer-causing HPV is also administered by gynaecologists.
They too can provide advice on sexual matters including the practices, contraceptives, and protections against sexually-transmitted diseases. So long as it’s not a pregnancy issue that’s related to the female reproductive health, gynaecologists can take care of it all.
Many physicians specialise in both obstetrics and gynaecology to provide comprehensive care to female patients. That way, they can address the full spectrum of their patients’ healthcare needs. When it comes to visiting an OB/GYN doctor, many still shy away from the opportunity to understand their reproductive health. That said, The O&G Specialist Clinic can give you quality advice about your health and discuss suitable fertility treatments in Singapore.