Many students who enter the medical field choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine. A medical specialty focuses on a particular aspect of medical care and some specialties require more arduous studies than others do. A medical student who chooses to become an OB-GYN specialist will typically be required to fulfill eight years of school and up to four years in resident training, depending on their origin of practice.
To become an OB-GYN specialist, students study courses pertaining to the development, treatment, anatomy and pathology of the female reproductive system. OB-GYNs are considered two specialties in one, treating women who are pregnant and women who are not. Obstetrics is the care of pregnant patients while gynecology is the care of women of reproductive age as well as those who have passed that stage. OB-GYN specialists provide routine physical care as well as perform surgical procedures pertaining to the reproductive system.
Students who wish to become an OB-GYN specialist may also choose to study a sub-specialty in the field. Sub-specialties in the OB-GYN field include high-risk pregnancies, post-menopausal and geriatrics, gynecological oncology, and others. In the United States, practitioners wishing to become an OB-GYN specialist with a sub-specialty typically train in a fellowship program after their residency period has ended.
Common procedures performed by OB-GYN doctors include pelvic exams, pap smears, pregnancy tests, prenatal care, and breast cancer exams. They prescribe medications and procedures that pertain to women’s health, including mammograms, birth control, antibiotics, hormone replacements, ultrasounds, and so on. Essentially, any women’s health concern is addressed by this specialty.
Doctors who choose to become an OB-GYN specialist provide a valuable service to the female population in the area where they practice. While many of the patients in this specialty are pregnant women, making the delivery of babies a large part of the practice, an increase in health awareness has led to new developments and more varied aspects of the specialty. An OB-GYN may have female patients with many other health concerns besides reproductive health, including weight loss, smoking cessation, urological concerns, and sexual and psychological concerns. Many women now consider their OB-GYN to be their primary care physician.