Gynecology and Obstetrics are two medical specialities that deal with the human body of females. While the practitioners of both specialities broadly deal with the same branch of medicine, they are distinct in more ways than one. Both these medical specialities have also have undergone numerous changes with time, and in modern times, they are even trained together. Therefore, often, you can notice that the both the specialities are merged to make a single hobby. You may also have seen abbreviations like O&G, OBG, OB/GYN, etc. Although both disciplines are combined, differences do exist.
In short, Obstetrics deals with the care needed by pregnant women right from the start of the pregnancy through childbirth and postnatal care. Further, it also includes pre-natal health care for the fetus and postnatal care for the mother to help her recover well. On the other hand, Gynecology can be understood as an umbrella term to deal with the reproductive system in women. Thus issues related to the uterus, ovaries, cervix, vagina, etc. can be placed under gynaecology. But, since these organs are again part of the overall anatomy, other organs like the bladder, bowel and urinary systems, etc. also form part of a gynecologist’s functions.
Obstetrician vs. Gynecologist
A doctor specialised in gynaecology is known as a gynaecologist, and one who specialises in obstetrics is called obstetrician. As we mentioned earlier, in modern times, both these specialities go hand in hand, and therefore doctors specialising in gynaecology also tend to specialise in obstetrics. For example, female obstetrician like Dr Shelley Rowlands is also specialised in gynaecology.
Procedures performed by the two specialities differ too. An obstetrician takes care of complications arising during childbirth. These methods can involve the mother to-be as well as the child. Major procedures under this speciality include:-
Correcting the position of the baby in the mother’s womb. This is particularly applicable when the mother is keen on attempting a vaginal delivery.
C-Section or Caesarean – In instances where vaginal delivery is not the option, surgery is performed by the obstetrician to take the baby out from the womb.
Cervical cerclage: This procedure deals with strengthening the cervix of the mother to-be to prevent miscarriage. In this procedure, a suture is placed through the cervix so that it remains closed.
The reproductive tract falls under gynaecological procedures and includes modifying a part of it or removing it altogether. Some of the specific procedures under this branch are:-
Hysterectomy: This involves removing the womb of a woman. There are many ways to this like robotics, laparoscopy, abdominal, vaginal, etc.
Laparoscopy: Diagnosing and treating with the aid of a camera and special instruments is known as Laparoscopy. The scars resulting from this procedure are smaller, and recovery is easier compared to an open surgery called a laparotomy.
Cone biopsies: This relates to removing precancerous cells found in the cervix. This may be done either in the doctor’s office or a hospital and may also be termed as LEEP.
As you would have noticed by now, the reproductive system in females is pretty complex, and therefore the study of this scheme has been bifurcated into two. Most doctors tend to practice gynaecology and obstetrics together. However, some may choose to confine themselves to only one branch and refer cases meriting the attention of the other branch to another doctor. In recent times, the third branch of a practice known as laborist has also emerged. A doctor practising this branch attends only to calls in the labour unions and often is specialised in obstetrics alone.
Having examined the core differences between a gynaecologist and an obstetrician, let us know consider why you should choose the best obstetrician for your pregnancy.
In the first place, an obstetrician is one with specialised training and knowledge in all matters concerning pregnancy and childbirth. On a relative plane, she/he is more competent to look after both the fetus and the mother to-be.
The World over, pregnancy is an important facet of any woman’s life. From the day one learns about the pregnancy to the day she sees the face of her little darling, the entire period is punctuated with loads of emotion, fond hopes, love, expectation, ecstasy, joy and more. It is a unique distinction given by the creator only to the female. This is also the period when the pregnant woman’s body goes through a series of hormonal changes though most of it is familiar to every woman under the sun. At the same time, getting pregnant and safely delivering the baby is a divine gift and often considered a rebirth for the mother.
Your obstetrician is therefore expected to be very friendly and patient while dealing with every single issue, big or small related to your pregnancy. Apart from his/her medical expertise, the general disposition and a gentle touch can do loads of good for the mother and her pregnancy.
Many obstetricians also offer pre-pregnancy counselling. This will involve assessing the women’s general health, her mental readiness to accept the pregnancy and nurture it through to delivering the baby safely, educating the woman on potential health issues related to pregnancy, particularly for a woman who is wanting to get pregnant for the first time in life, etc.
This, by far takes things a couple of notches above the pre-pregnancy counselling. These workshops tend to educate pregnant woman on precautions to be taken, handling various issues related to pregnancy, enjoying the pregnancy, measures to keep body and mind safe and healthy, dietary habits and precautions, an importance of regular checkups, etc. When you are choosing the best obstetrician for you, you should ensure that she can provide access to such workshops or educate you on these lines.
Careful and approachable services
With the specialised training that she/he has, your obstetrician can provide more available and attentive service throughout your pregnancy and postnatal period.
Some Obstetricians also offer pregnancy workshops which are immensely useful for the pregnant women. These workshops walk you through 3 trimesters and post-natal care. For women who get pregnant for the first time, there can be hundreds of questions. Even though they can search online or get related information on women cares, it may be difficult to find answers for all of them. But, when you sit through these workshops, not only will most of your questions be answered, but you will also gain loads of information that can make your pregnancy a more pleasurable experience.