The Role of the OB/GYN

An OB/GYN, also known as an obstetrician/gynecologist, is a doctor who specializes in pregnancy and labor as well as the female reproductive system in the field of health care. This type of doctor can diagnose and treat diseases of the female reproductive system and is responsible for carrying out exams that monitor a woman’s health and ensuring her overall health. Their role as a women’s health provider is very important and significant to the patients they serve.

The OB/GYN carries out tests to provide preventative care, such as pap smears. The doctor also monitors the health of pregnancies, which is a very important role. Detection of sexually transmitted diseases is also an important role of the OB/GYN.

An OB/GYN may work in a private practice of their own, or for a large hospital. They can take on the role as the primary care physician for their patients and may be a consultant to other physicians. OB/GYNs may teach in universities or work in the public health sector. Some OB/GYNs may choose to specialize their scope of practice in one or more of the following areas:

  • Cancer
  • Endocrinology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Operative gynecology
  • Healthy pregnancies
  • Acute and chronic medical conditions
  • Cosmetic Gynecology, a newer field

The training of an OB/GYN is quite extensive, as they must first graduate from a Bachelor of Science program, in which they usually study pre-medicine, but may study other things as well before applying to medical school. They will then go on to medical school, where upon graduation they will complete a residency program in which they will specialize in OB/GYN. This usually takes around four years to complete. During the residency, they will do rotations in obstetrics, reproductive endocrinology, ultrasonography, gynecologic oncology, and gynecology.

During the residency, they must experience at least six months of experience in caring for patients and treating them in a wide array of focuses including breast disease and urinary tract dysfunction to name a few. As they go through their training, they will experience in an increase in responsibility. Once they meet these requirements, they will be eligible to pass a board certification. All physicians must go through a recertification process every ten years.