Obstetricians and gynecologists are very similar - but there are some differences between the two.
Obstetrics deals specifically with all aspects of pregnancy, including prenatal and postnatal care. Obstetricians are responsible for delivering babies and treating pregnancy-related issues, such as fetal distress and ectopic pregnancies (the fetus grows outside of the uterus). Obstetricians, along with endocrinologists, can also provide therapy to help with fertility and pregnancy issues.
Gynecologists specialize in the female reproductive system and treat a broad array of women's health conditions.
Gynecologists help women with reproductive issues from their first period all the way through menopause. Gynecologists will also perform a number of regular tests and exams, such as:
- Pap smear (to screen for cervical cancer)
- Breast exams (screening for breast cancer)
- Pelvic exams (screening for ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, STIs, and cancer)
Gynecologists can also be consulted for:
- Contraceptive/ birth control counseling
- Endometriosis treatment
- Abnormal/ irregular menstruation
- Polyps in the reproductive system (usually in the cervix or vagina)
- Infection (such as UTIs or STIs)
Most doctors will undergo training to specialize in both obstetrics and gynecology. This allows the provider to offer more complete and comprehensive care to patients. Providers who specialize in both obstetrics and gynecology are known as OB/GYNs.