What is Obstetrics and Gynecology?
Obstetrics and Gynecology are medical specialties that focus on two different aspects of the female reproductive system.
Obstetrics deals with the care of the pregnant women, the unborn baby, labor and delivery and the immediate period following childbirth.
Gynecology deals with any ailment concerning the reproductive organs; uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, ovaries and vagina. A gynecologist may also treat problems in the bowel, bladder and urinary system since these are closely related to female reproductive organs.
What is the role of an Obstetrician?
An Obstetrician ensures that mother and child get the best prenatal care to ensure labor and delivery is complication free whether a baby is delivered naturally or through a planned or emergency caesarian section. Following delivery, an obstetrician is focused on the health of the mother and child ensuring that both make the transition into routine daily life without deadly complications.
Obstetric procedures include:
● Caesarean (or C) section: surgically cutting a baby out from its mother’s womb to avoid problems during labour
● Cervical sutures: using tape to strengthen a woman’s cervix to prevent miscarriages
● External cephalic version (ECV): turning the baby around in the womb so it is in the correct position for birth
During pregnancy a number of complications can arise such as ectopic pregnancy, which is a condition where the embryo is in a fallopian tube, fetal distress caused by compression , problems with the placenta or high blood pressure which can be a forerunner of a serious illness called pre-eclampsia.
You may have a high-risk pregnancy if you’re pregnant and you:
● have a chronic health condition
● are over age 35
● are carrying multiple babies
● have a history of miscarriage, preterm labor, or cesarean delivery
● engage in certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking and drinking
● develop certain complications during pregnancy that affect you or baby
Obstetricians also test foetuses for symptoms of conditions like Down’s Syndrome using ultrasound and techniques like chorionic villus sampling.
What is the role of a Gynaecologist?
A Gynaecologist advise patients on the health and hygiene of their reproductive organs, birth control measures and practicing safe sex. Gynecologists also assist with infertility issues and contraception.
They diagnose and treat diseases of the reproductive organs including cancer of the ovaries, uterus, cervix, vagina and fallopian tubes. He or she also treats prolapse of the pelvic organs. This is a condition usually present in postmenopausal women with weakened pelvic muscles that cannot support the uterus or bladder properly.
Gynaecological procedures include:
● Laparoscopy: the diagnosis and removal of cysts and infections from the ovaries and fallopian tubes
● Cone biopsies: the removal unhealthy cells from the cervix to prevent cervical cancer
● Hysterectomies: the removal of a woman’s uterus
● Tubal ligation – a permanent form of birth control
● Oophorectomy – removal of the ovaries
● Salpingectomy – removal of the fallopian tubes
Gynaecologists and obstetricians often work closely with midwives, nurses and other medical specialists such as urologists, who treat bladder problems, and endocrinologists, who deal with hormone production.