Gynecologist vs. Obstetrician

Gynecologist vs. Obstetrician

A gynecologist and obstetrician are both generally known for the care of women as related to pregnancy and the stages before and after a woman delivers a child. However, there are many differences between the two types of medical doctors.

A gynecologist is mostly dedicated only to the reproductive care of women. A gynecologist's focus is on the medical care of the woman's reproductive system which includes the vagina, ovaries, and uterus.

On the other hand, an obstetrician is typically concerned with the health of the woman and fetus during pregnancy, as well as a short time after pregnancy. The obstetrician's focus is on the surgical care of a woman and her children. The doctor's care takes place not only during preganancy, but at childbirth, including post-natal care. Nearly all gynecologists are obstetricians, called OB/GYNs for short..

The specializations of the two types of doctors are also different. The gynecologist will handle nearly all of the procedures that must be taken care of prior to childbirth. This includes mammograms and pap smear, infections of the uterine or vaginal areas, and problems associated with contraception, tubal ligations and hysterectomies. Once the gynecologist's role ends with the confirmation of a pregnancy, the woman's care will then be transferred to the obstetrician.

The obstetrician's specialties will then be needed during the pregnancy, including post-natal and post/partum care, and of course, the delivery of the child. The obstetrician's responsibilities also involve performing the ultrasounds during the first trimester, and at the 12th and 20th weeks of pregnancy. The ultrasound is used to determine the health of the fetus, and is used to identify any problems or complications. The obstetrician will also determine the gestational period.

The surgical procedures performed by the two types of doctors also differ with obstetricians mainly concerned with vaginal and caesarean deliveries of the child. They also perform the episiotomy during labor to quickly enlarge the opening for the baby to pass through.

However, the gynecologist is responsible for several surgical procedures such as a hysterectomy, oophorectomy, tubal ligation, laparoscopy, laparotomy, and cystoscopy.

A major difference between the two doctors is related to the treatment of diseases. An obstetrician does not treat diseases but takes care of complications and problems during the woman's pregnancy such as ectopic pregnancy, fetal disease, uterine rupture, obstetrical hemorrhage and a few others.

The diseases treated by a gynecologist includes cancer of reproductive organs, incontinence, amenorrhea, infertility, prolapse of pelvic organs, and several others, as well as fungal, bacterial, and protozoal infections.

Finally, the education for obstetricians and gynecologists are similar and they are usually trained together. The training for both takes about eight years in all, but some gynecologists specialize in areas including oncology, reproductive endocrinology or urogynecology.

In summary, gynecologists and obstetricians complement the services each offers the women patients they serve, focusing on the health and welfare of women and their specialized needs related to reproduction and pregnancy. Most obstetricians and gynecologists in the modern world today are called OB/GYNs and can handle a wide range of responsibilities.

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