To provide comprehensive care for the reproductive system in women. Obstetrics is the term for women's care during the prenatal and pregnant states, while gynecology covers care for general women's health in a non-pregnant state.
Obstetrics & gynecology is a medical and surgical specialty focused on the care of the reproductive system in women in both the pregnant and non-pregnant states – obstetrics and gynecology, respectively. Although they are recognized as two separate fields of medicine, many physicians specialize in both areas to provide comprehensive care for women. When a physician specializes in both fields, they are referred to as an OBGYN or OB/GYN; the specialty is commonly abbreviated as OB/GYN, OBGYN or Obs & Gyn, among other variations.
As an OBGYN, these physicians are trained to provide pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women. This includes regular checkups and examinations to ensure healthy gestation and development of the baby, as well as looking after the health of the mother; this also includes tests for the transfer of hereditary disease from the mother to the child. During obstetric exams, tests like complete blood counts, sexually transmitted disease screenings, pap smears, amniotic fluid tests, and iron and glucose tests will be performed. Often times, the OBGYN will be present at childbirth, and will likely be the physician performing the delivery.
Gynecologic duties of an OBGYN include caring for women who are not pregnant, seeing patients for regular exams and the treatment of various gynecological diseases, disorders and complications. These physicians often perform annual preventive screenings that include a general physical examination, pelvic exam, breast exam, pap smear and a review of vaccinations, among others deemed necessary. OBGYNs are also trained to perform surgical procedures such as hysterectomies, tubal ligations (getting “tubes tied”), laparoscopies and cystoscopies, among others.