OB GYN(Obstetrics Gynecology)

by: Trinity Perilus

Obstetrician / Gynecologist Overview

An obstetrician is a physician who has specializes in the management of pregnancy, labor, and pueperium (the time-period directly following childbirth). A gynecologist is a physician who specializes in the health of the female reproductive system, including the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases.

An obstetrician/gynecologist is a physician specialist who provides medical and surgical care to women and has particular expertise in pregnancy, childbirth, and disorders of the reproductive system. This includes preventative care, prenatal care, detection of sexually transmitted diseases, Pap test screening, family planning, etc.

An obstetrician/gynecologist—commonly abbreviated as OB/GYN—can serve as a primary physician and often serve as consultants to other physicians. They can have private practices, work in hospital or clinic settings, and maintain teaching positions at university hospitals. Also work public health and preventive medicine administrations.

OB/GYNs may choose to specialize in the following areas:

  • Acute and chronic medical conditions
  • Adolescent gynecology
  • Behavioral problems
  • Cancer
  • Endocrinology
  • Health maintenance during pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Operative gynecology
  • Pregnancy and delivery
  • Preventative health
  • Urinary tract disorders

There are four recognized subspecialties in the field of obstetrics/gynecology:

  1. Gynecologic oncology
  2. Maternal/fetal medicine
  3. Reproductive endocrinology and infertility
  4. Urogynecology/reconstructive pelvic surgery
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Education and Training Requirements

The education and training requirements for obstetrics/gynecology are set by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) and include the following:

  • Graduation from an approved medical school
  • Completion of an OB/GYN residency program (minimum of 4 years in length) that is accredited by the American Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
    • Rotations divided between obstetrics, gynecology, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology, and ultrasonography
    • Experience in primary and preventive care role for the equivalent of at least 6 months of the residency, including inpatient and ambulatory care; diagnosis and management of breast disease and lower urinary tract dysfunction; performance and interpretation of diagnostic pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound
    • Increase in patient responsibility with each year of training
    • Serving as chief (senior) resident during final year of residency
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Board Certification

Once the above requirements are met, physicians are allowed to take the certifying examinations given by ABOG. Physicians who pass the examination are granted board certified status in Obstetrics and Gynecology, a pre-requisite to subspecialty certification.

If certified in obstetrics and gynecology after 1986, the physician must complete a recertification process every 10 years to maintain certified status. If certified before 1986, the physician can take a voluntary recertification process.

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