Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., CRNPhường — Written by Kellie Walsh — Updated on May 27, 2016

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An OB-GYN, or obstetrician-gynecologist, is a doctor who specializes in women’s health. The female toàn thân experiences many different biological functions, including menstruation, childbirth, và menopause. OB-GYNs provide care for all of this & more. Here’s a look at what they vày và when you should consider seeing one.

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An obstetrician-gynecologist, or OB-GYN, has expertise in female reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth. Some OB-GYNs offer a wide range of general health services similar lớn your primary care doctor. Others focus on the medical care of the female reproductive system.

OB-GYNs also provide routine medical services and preventive sầu screenings. This type of doctor has studied obstetrics & gynecology.

The term “OB-GYN” can refer lớn the doctor, an obstetrician-gynecologist, or to lớn the sciences that the doctor specializes in, which are obstetrics và gynecology.

What is obstetrics?

Obstetrics is the branch of medicine related to medical & surgical care before, during, and after a woman gives birth. Obstetrics focuses on caring for và maintaining a woman’s overall health during maternity.

This includes:

pregnancylaborchildbirththe postpartum period

OB-GYNs can conduct office visits, persize surgery, and assist with labor và delivery. Some OB-GYNs provide services through a solo or private practice. Others vày so as part of a larger medical group or hospital.

What is gynecology?

Gynecology is the branch of medicine that focuses on women’s bodies and their reproductive health. It includes the diagnosis, treatment, & care of women’s reproductive system.

This includes the:

vaginauterusovariesfallopian tubes

This branch of medicine also includes screening for and treating issues associated with women’s breasts.

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Gynecology is the overarching field of women’s health from puberty through adulthood. It represents most of the reproductive care you’ll receive sầu during your lifetime. If you become pregnant, you’ll need khổng lồ go to lớn an obstetrician.

What are the specialty areas?

Approximately 90 percent of OB-GYNs are generalists. This means they work across a wide range of OB-GYN services. Some choose lớn specialize in one or more different subspecialties. These may include:

Maternal-fetal medicine

These specialists care for patients with high-risk pregnancies and related medical conditions. You might see a maternal-fetal medicine speciadanh mục if you have:

chronic or gestational high blood pressuregestational diabetesblood-clotting disorderspremature labor

Reproductive sầu endocrinology & infertility

These endocrinologists address issues related to infertility và the glands and hormones of the endocrine system. If you wish to lớn become pregnant but are having trouble conceiving, you can go lớn a reproductive sầu endocrinologist. They persize assisted reproduction procedures, such as:

in vitro fertilizationgamete intrafallopian transferzygote intrafallopian transferembryo transfer

Gynecosúc tích oncology

These oncologists specialize in diagnosing và treating cancers of the female reproductive system. This includes cancers of the:


Female pelvic medicine & reproductive sầu surgery

These surgeons focus on treating women with urinary tract disorders. They also focus on disorders of the muscle và connective sầu tissue located just beneath a woman’s pelvis. This area is called the pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor may become weak as a result of pregnancy, age, or certain medical conditions. These specialists address:

urinary or fecal incontinencevaginal or urinary tract infectionsoveractive bladderbladder painpelvic organ prolapse

A doctor must first complete their bachelor’s degree & four years of medical school training lớn become an OB-GYN.

After medical school, you must complete four years of graduate-level education as a resident focusing on obstetrics & gynecology. During this period, doctors learn about reproductive issues and other health-related issues in women. In particular, they learn about:


Doctors complete their residency under the supervision of an attending doctor in a medical setting, such as in a hospital.

You must complete an additional three years of training after you finish your residency lớn specialize in a certain area.

After all required training has been completed, you must pass a specialty board certification exam. The American Board of Obstetrics và Gynecology oversees this exam.

OB-GYNs must take a maintenance exam every six years lớn uphold their certification.

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