What Is an OB/GYN?

Posted by Manipal Hospital
November 13, 2017

Self-Published

Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) is a surgical field which is concentrated on pregnancy, labour, childbirth and postpartum period. The physician who has completed the specialized training and education in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology is known as an obstetrician. Obstetrician/Gynecologist provides medical and surgical care to women and has expertise in pregnancy, childbirth, and disorders of the reproductive system. This includes prenatal care, preventative care, detection of sexually transmitted diseases, family planning, etc. Obstetrician/Gynecologist is also known as OB/GYN can serve as consultants to other physicians or can also work as a primary physician. They have a broad base of knowledge and can be specialized in areas such as-

  • Chronic and acute medical condition
  • Adolescent gynecology
  • Cancer
  • Endocrinology
  • Infertility
  • Health maintenance during pregnancy
  • Pregnancy
  • Childbirth
  • Urinary tract disorders

 

Obstetrics/Gynecology is divided into four subspecialties –

  1. Fetal / Maternal medicine – consultation and care of the patients with the complications of pregnancy. Knowledge of medical, obstetrics and surgical complications of the mother and fetus, diagnosis and treatment of the problem.
  2. Gynecologic oncology – the specialization is concerned with the consultation and comprehensive management of gynecologic cancer. Cancer diagnosis, treatment, and complication of oncology are treated in this specialty.
  3. Infertility and reproductive endocrinology – management and diagnosis of the complex problems of infertility and reproductive endocrinology disorders.
  4. Reconstructive pelvic surgery / Urogynecology – this is classified as surgical subspeciality which is concerned with the health of the urinary tract of female and surgery as a treatment. Provide the knowledge of complex pelvic conditions, pelvic floor dysfunction, reconstructive pelvic surgery and lower urinary disorder.

 

 

Obstetricians handle high-risk pregnancies with the help of well-trained nurses and intensive care unit. To manage the newborn emergencies a pediatrician is present for deliveries.

Some of the services provided by Obstetricians are –

  • Contraceptive services
  • Termination of pregnancy
  • Hormonal defects and infertility
  • Labour pain management
  • Pre-natal care of pregnant woman
  • Maternal and fetal monitoring

 

Some of the services provided by Gynecologists are –

  • Management of menstrual disorders
  • Management of ovarian disease, polycystic, fibroids, endometriosis, etc.
  • Removal of uterus
  • Reversal of tubectomy
  • Diagnosis and treatment of ectopic pregnancy
  • Treatment and surgery of female reproductive system
  • Screening of cervical cancer
  • Management of endocrine disorders such as thyroid, prolactin

 

 

 

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Maternal-fetal medicine is a subspecialty of obstetrics. Maternal-fetal medicine is also known as perinatology which focuses on managing health concern of mother and fetus before, during and shortly after the pregnancy. Maternal-fetal medicine specialist can perform prenatal tests, provide treatments and perform surgeries. They can handle low risk as well as high-risk pregnancies. During 1960s maternal-fetal medicine emerge as a discipline of medical science. Advance research and technology allowed the specialists to diagnose and treat fetal complications. Before 1960s obstetricians have to rely only on heart rate monitoring and maternal reports. The development of amniocentesis, fetal blood sampling, more precise fetal heart monitoring and real-time ultrasound were the inventions which lead to lower mortality rates. Maternal-fetal medicine is one of the most rapidly growing fields in medicines especially regarding fetus. Fetal gene and stem cell therapy are the topic of advanced research which can provide early treatment for genetic disorders, open fetal surgery for the correction of birth defects like congenital heart disease and prevention of preeclampsia.

Sometimes the medical problems of a woman and family history can affect the unborn child, and sometimes fetus can have issues of their own. Maternal-fetal medicine specialist ensures that mother and fetus get the best possible treatment and care. Genetic counseling can be helpful for them who have some known genetic disorder, take medication for a disease that runs in the family or in some tests you get to know that your baby might have a congenital disability. Some tasks performed by maternal-fetal medicine specialists are-

  • Providing regular prenatal care to women who have high-risk pregnancies
  • Managing existing health problems of mothers such as diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Providing care to the women who have complication during pregnancy or childbirth
  • Does tests such as ultrasounds to check the growth and development of your baby
  • Check birth defects and genetic disorders with the help of some advanced tests such as amniocentesis, chorionic villus sampling (CSV) or umbilical cord sampling
  • Diagnose and manage birth defects, heart problems and blood disorders in developing babies by performing surgery if needed
  • Monitor labor and handle the delivery
  • Manage the health problems of the mother after delivery such as excessive bleeding, high blood pressure, and infections.

You need to consult with a maternal fetal medicine doctor when you are pregnant with twins which is considered as a high-risk pregnancy or before you conceive, you know you have heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune disease, seizure, blood clotting disorder, or infection such as  cytomegalovirus, HIV, parvovirus or you had pregnancy problem in past such as preterm birth. When you are consulting with a maternal fetal medicine doctor, it gives you confidence that you and your baby are getting best possible care.

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