An obstetrician, also popularly known as an OB/GYN, offers a number of health services to women during their pregnancy stages. Obstetricians also have the necessary training and education to manage the complications that may happen to women during pregnancy, postpartum, and birth.
An obstetrician is actually a medical doctor who is specialized in the management of labor, pregnancy, and birth. Obstetricians have received specialized education in the area of surgical care and on the female reproductive system. A major portion of their education is focused on the management and detection of gynecological and obstetrical problems.
The services offered by an obstetrician will significantly vary on the advanced training and specialty of the OB/GYN. Some physicians decide to practice just obstetrics, while others may choose to practice gynecology only. However, most of the OB/GYNs usually practice both gynecology and obstetrics. These physicians offer a number of services to their patients, including:
- Prenatal care;
- Birth and labor care;
- Annual gynecologic examination, such as breast examination and Pap smear test;
- Contraceptive counseling;
- Treatment of sexually transmitted diseases;
- Infertility diagnosis and treatment; and
- Menopause care and management.
If you are selecting an obstetrician, then you should make sure that the doctor has successfully completed the requirements set by ABOG (American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology). The key requirements include:
- Graduation from an approved or recognized medical school; and
- Successful completion of 4 years of residency training that includes preventive care, ultrasonography, gynecologic oncology, gynecology, and obstetrics.
After finishing the residency training, an obstetrician should pass the ABOG administered test in order to become board certified. However, some of the obstetrician may decide to pursue a sub-specialty such as maternal/fetal or infertility medicine.
If you are having a high-risk pregnancy, then it is wiser to choose an experienced OB/GYN, as they will offer a proper care to you and your baby at all stages of your pregnancy. As they have specialized surgical training, seeking the help of an OB/GYN will be necessary in case of a cesarean birth. Moreover, they have specialized training in managing pregnancy complications such as placenta previa or preeclampsia.