Gynecologist vs. Obstetrician

Gynecologist
Obstetrician

A gynecologist is devoted only to the reproductive care of women while an obstetrician is concerned with women during and a little after pregnancy. Obstetricians are also concerned with the health of the fetus. Almost all modern Gynecologists are also Obstetricians.

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Gynecologist

Obstetrician

Definition A doctor who specializes in the medical care of women and their reproductive system (vagina, ovaries and uterus). A doctor who specializes in the surgical care of women and their children during pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal care.
Specialization Deals with mammograms and pap smear, uterine or vaginal infections, fertility problems or contraception, tubal ligations and hysterectomies. Confirms the pregnancy and then transfers to the obstetrician. Pregnancy, post-natal/post-partum care and delivery. Performs regular ultrasounds usually in the first trimester, at 12th week and 20th week of pregnancy to determine healthy of the fetus, identify any complications and determine gestational period.
Surgical procedures Typical procedures performed are: hysterectomy, oophorectomy, tubal ligation, laproscopy, laprotomy, cystoscopy. Vaginal and Cesarean deliveries, episiotomy.
Diseases Cancer of reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina and vulva), incontinence, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, infertility, menorrhagia, prolapse of pelvic organs, fungal, bacterial or protozoal infections. Do not treat diseases. They deal with any complications during childbirth such as Ectopic pregnancy, fetal distress, pre-eclampsia, placental abruption, shoulder dystocia, uterine rupture, prolapsed cord, obstetrical hemorrhage and sepsis.
Education Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) are generally trained together. Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGYN) are generally trained together.

Contents: Gynecologist vs Obstetrician

edit Primary Function

Obstetrician at work during a Cesarian
Obstetrician at work during a Cesarian

Gynecologists treat diseases while obstetricians deliver babies and care for mother and baby during post-delivery.

In addition to performing regular breast exams, mammograms and pap smear, gynecologists treat fertility problems, deal with contraception, tubal ligations and hysterectomies. They also deal with uterine and vaginal infections or diseases. The diseases they typically encounter are cancer of reproductive organs (ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina and vulva), incontinence, amenorrhea (absent menstruation), dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), infertility, menorrhagia (heavy menstruation), prolapse of pelvic organs, fungal, bacterial, viral or protozoal infections to reproductive organs. The gynecologist will usually confirm that a woman is pregnant and then refer her to an obstetrician.

Obstetricians do not treat diseases of the reproductive organs. They deal with any complications during childbirth such as ectopic pregnancy (embryo in fallopian tubes), fetal distress (fetus is compressed in the uterus), pre-eclampsia (convulsions due to hypertension), placental abruption (patient can bleed to death if not properly managed), shoulder dystocia (one of the fetus' shoulders becomes stuck during birth), uterine rupture, prolapsed cord (causes a risk of fetal suffocation), obstetrical hemorrhage and sepsis (infection of uterus before or after childbirth).

See also Doula vs Midwife.

edit Surgical Procedures

Some of the typical procedures performed by a gynecologist are hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), oophorectomy (removal of ovaries), tubal ligation (as a form of contraception), laproscopy, laprotomy, cystoscopy and pap smear (to identify pre-cancerous cells).

Obstetricians usually perform vaginal or cesarean deliveries.

edit Education

These days almost all gynecologists are also obstetricians, and most obstetricians also practice gynecology.

Obstetrics and gynecology are often combined to form a single medical specialty in post-graduate medical training, abbreviated to OB/GYN. But any complications with the baby after delivery is treated by neo-natal specialists. Training in this specialty in the U.S takes 4 years after 4 years of medical school (D.O. or M.D.) is completed. Australia has the longest training period with 6 years. In India, after 5 years of MBBS and a year of internship, a postgraduate diploma in OB/GYN takes 2 years and an MD takes 3 years. Some choose to pursue a fellowship which can take from one to 4 years and has a research component.

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