An obstetrician-gynecologist, or ob-gyn, is a doctor who specializes in the care of women. He or she has completed special training in obstetrics, which is the care of pregnant women. This includes the preconception (before pregnancy) period, pregnancy, labor and childbirth, and after a baby is born. Ob-gyns are also trained in gynecology. Gynecology covers a woman’s general health care, including care of her reproductive organs, breasts, and sexual function. Gynecology also includes management of hormonal disorders, treatment of infections, and training in surgery to correct or treat pelvic organ or urinary tract problems.
Your ob-gyn also offers preventive health care. This can help you make informed choices that prevent health problems. Preventive health care includes exams and routine tests to detect problems early, before you become sick. Immunizations to prevent disease are also part of preventive care.
Since ob-gyns are trained to evaluate overall woman’s health, they provide care for a wide range of medical issues; much more than just pregnancy and problems of the reproductive system. For many women, the ob-gyn is their primary care physician—the doctor they turn to first for health care.