What is an OBGYN?

An obstetrician is a physician who successfully completes specialized education and training in the management of both routine and complicated pregnancy, labor, and postpartum care. A gynecologist is a physician who successfully completes specialized education and training in the health of the female reproductive system, including the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of gynecologic disorders and diseases.

The current initial graduate medical education structure in the United States is concurrent training in both obstetrics and gynecology, though there are additional post-graduate training opportunities in the subspecialty areas of the field (Subspecialties in OBGYN). This means that upon successful completion of an accredited obstetrics and gynecology residency, the generalist obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN) is equipped to provide medical and surgical care in the realm of female pelvic medicine. While this includes prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care, OBGYNs also provide a wide breadth of gynecologic care, including comprehensive family planning, management of vaginal and pelvic infections, care for sexual health concerns, menopause care, and treatment of abnormal menstrual bleeding. OBGYNs also often play a role as primary-care providers in their communities as they are trained to deliver annual well care, including routine Pap test and other healthcare maintenance screening.

General OBGYNs can work in a variety of practice-types, including privately-owned, hospital-employed, or academic practices. After completion of the general boards, some general OBGYNs may seek to define their practice to either obstetrics or gynecology work and find jobs as laborists (OB-only hospital-based work), gynecologic surgeons, and office-based-only providers. OBGYNs may also work as researchers and with public health, advocacy, and preventive medicine organizations.

General OBGYNs have a broad base of knowledge and can vary their professional focus. Many develop unique practices, providing high-quality female reproductive care that meets needs in their community. General OBGYNs can further focus their practice without fellowship training in a number of ways, including but not limited to the following:

• Adolescent gynecology

• Fertility-sparing management of endometriosis, fibroids

• Gender-affirming care

• In-office procedures

• Moderate-risk pregnancy care

• Operative gynecology

• Pelvic Pain

• Pregnancy loss and support

• Sexual health concerns

• Vulvar and vaginal conditions