What is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist?

Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

A specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology is a medical Doctor with special education and expertise in the field of women’s health and reproduction. He/she has the appropriate medical, surgical and obstetrical and gynaecologic knowledge and skills for the prevention, diagnosis and management of a broad range of conditions affecting women's reproductive health.

What is Obstetrics?

Obstetrics is the branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of women during pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and the time after childbirth. Obstetricians work to ensure that pregnancy culminates in the delivery of a healthy baby, without impairing the health of the mother. The mother's medical history and health status are initially evaluated. Physical examination discloses the mother's uterine size and estimates the length of her pregnancy.

If the obstetrician detects abnormalities, prenatal testing may need to be done on the fetus. An important modern development has been ultrasonography, which allows the obstetrician to non-invasively diagnose intra-uterine conditions.

Delivery of the baby is helped by the use of a Friedman's chart, which shows the patterns of cervical dilation. The care of women during childbirth was originally in the hands of women (midwifery), but in the 16th century physicians grew interested in the field.

Of special importance were the invention of the delivery forceps by Peter Chamberlen in the 17th century and the introduction of anesthesia in the 19th cent. The adoption of antiseptic methods according to the theories of Joseph Lister and Ignaz Semmelweis reduced the incidence of infection in childbirth and made possible successful cesarean section. Obstetrics is often combined with gyneacology as a medical specialty.

What is Gyneacology?

Gynaecology is the branch of medicine specializing in the disorders of the female reproductive system. Modern gynecology deals with menstrual disorders, menopause, infectious disease and maldevelopment of the reproductive organs, disturbances of the sex hormones, benign and malignant tumor formation, and the prescription of contraceptive devices.

A branch of gynaecology, reproductive medicine, deals with infertility and utilizes artificial insemination and in-vitro fertilizations, where a human egg is harvested, fertilized in a test tube, and then implanted into the womb.

Some gynaecologists also practice obstetrics. Surgical gynaecology began to make progress in the 19th century, when the introduction of anesthesia and antisepsis paved the way for many advances.