All Women's Care is a professional, well-reputed healthcare center known for providing comprehensive, state-of-the-art care for women’s health issues. Serving and empowering women in and around the Los Angeles area, our expert team of certified women’s health specialists and staffaresolely dedicated to addressing thehealthneeds for women from adolescence to menopause and beyond.OB-GYNspecialists provide screenings, diagnosis, and treatment for all kinds of obstetric and gynecologic health issues. Together with the most advanced procedures and protocols, we partner in optimizing every woman’s health and well-being while giving due importance to her individual needs and desires. We believe that a woman’s body needs specialized care, so we dedicate ourselves in providing compassionate, high-quality care to all women in a comfortable and respectful environment.
What is an OB-GYN?
An obstetrician-gynecologist, also better known by the shorthand OB-GYN or OB/GYN, is a specialist healthcare professional with skills and in-depth knowledge in women’s sexual and reproductive health. An OB-GYN physicianis specially trained with all the skills and professional capability required in providing medical and surgical care to women. They have expertise in female reproductive health, pregnancy, childbirth as well as associated disorders, which distinguishes OB-GYNs fromother general physicians. Since OB-GYNs develop a broad knowledge diagnosing and treating a range of health conditions related to women, from common to complex, they may also serve as a consultant to other physicians or as primary care physicians for women. The specialty of OB-GYNencompasses two different yet related medical subspecialties: Obstetrics (OB) and Gynecology (GYN).
Obstetrician vs. Gynecologist vs. OB-GYN
An obstetrician is a physician doctor that specializes in the surgical care of women and their newborns during pregnancy as well as immediately following pregnancy. Obstetrics specialists are primarily concerned with the safe delivery of the child and focus on ensuring good health of mother and baby after the delivery. Whether it’s a vaginal delivery, or a case of planned or emergency C-section, an obstetrician is well-trained to handle the complex process of childbirth. They are also trained to handle a variety of complicated situations during labor and delivery as well as deal with various potentialcomplexities that may occur just after the childbirth. They perform regular ultrasounds to determine the health of the fetus, recognizethe possibility of any complications, and also determine the gestational period. It is important to know that obstetricians do not treat diseases; but are well-trained to cope with complications like ectopic pregnancy, placental abruption, fetal distress, uterine rupture, pre-eclampsia, obstetrical hemorrhage. They can advise you on taking some preventive health measures related to pregnancy. An obstetrician can guide a woman all through the period of contraception to delivery to postpartum.
A gynecologist is a physician doctor with an expertise in providing medical care for all aspects of a woman's reproductive health and involves the diagnosis and/or treatment of a variety of female health issues related to vagina, ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Gynecology specialists deal with mammograms and Pap smear and provide expert treatment for vaginal infections, menstruation, menopause, and pain during intercourse. Gynecology also encompasses a wide range of surgical procedures related to women’s reproductive organs—the most common include tubal ligations, hysterectomies, cone biopsy, oophorectomy, and salpingectomy. Generally, women start seeing a gynecologist when they become sexually active or reach puberty (13 to 15 years) if required. Routine gynecology examinations, like Pap tests and pelvic exams, are recommended at regular intervals to ensure a woman’s good health. If you are pregnant, you’ll need the care and assistance from an obstetrician.
An OB-GYN is a physician/doctor with broad and specific training in both obstetrics and gynecology. A specialistphysician is focused on providing care—medical and surgical—to women of all ages. He or she has proficiency in pregnancy andchildbirth as well as in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and/or disorders of the femalereproductive system.The same OB-GYN can treat infections, screen for cancer, or even perform surgery for a pelvic issue or urinary tract problems. Having trained in both obstetrics and gynecology, an OB-GYN specialist focuses on both areas and can deliver babies or treat pregnant women as well as treat health issues of women outside pregnancy.
Since OB-GYNs have a wide array of knowledge on a range of general health services in addition to the typical gynecologic procedures, manywomen see their OB-GYNs as their primary care or only doctor.
What Procedures Can OB-GYNs Perform?
OB-GYNs are trained to provide a wide range of procedures to women. Examples of some of them include:
- Tubal ligation for female sterilization
- Dilation and curettage
- Hysterectomy, or the removal of the uterus
- Myomectomy, or the removal of fibroids
- Surgery to repair pelvic organ injuries
- Vaginal and cesarean delivery
- Forceps and vacuum deliveries
- In vitro fertilization
- Endometrial biopsy
- Amniocentesis to determine sex and detect any abnormalities
- Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) tests
- Urinary incontinence and urinary tract infections
- Infertility treatments and counseling
- Fertility treatments, such as egg retrievals for IVF or egg-freezing
OB-GYN Education and Training Requirements
Like all physicians, OB-GYNs should start with completing their graduation from a four-year medical school. The academic learning during the first two years of the medical course is related to human anatomy and physiology while during the remaining two years, students get to work as apprentices for doctors in medical clinics or hospitals.
After graduation from an accredited medical school, an aspiring OB-GYN must receivehis or her four-year-long residency program focusing on obstetrics and gynecology. During this residency program under the supervision of an attending doctor, the individuals learn to diagnose, treat, manage, and prevent diseases or disorders related to female reproduction and other health-related issues in a medical setting.
Those who are interested in a subspecialty of OB-GYN must complete additional three-year training after completing the residency. When all the required training isfinished, they must qualify a specialty board certification exam in the desired field. The exam is administered by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and is a prerequisite to subspecialty board certification. The physicians must complete a recertification process every six years to maintain the certified status.
According to a BLS report regarding employment projections data, the job prospects of obstetricians and gynecologists are expected to grow by 16 percent by the year 2026, which is more than twice as compared to the average rate of average growth for other occupations in the United States. Interestingly, the predicted employment prospects for OB-GYN even transcends other physician occupations.
While the majority of the OB-GYNs are generalists, some may also choose to practice a subspecialty.As an OB-GYN, you may want to specialize either in obstetrics and care for pregnant women or provide gynecological care to women and notbe engaged in delivering babies. Some OB-GYNs may even decide on specializing a specific aspect of obstetrics and gynecology. According to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the number of OB-GYN doctors going for board certification in a subspecialty has increased significantly over the years.
There are four primary subspecialty fellowships in the field of Obstetrics-Gynecology recognized by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG), and each subspecialty has its certification exams overseen by ABOG.
This subspecialty deals primarily with the cancers of thefemale reproductive system, which include cancers of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and vulva.The OB-GYNsubspecialists in gynecologic oncologyhave expert knowledge in major cancer treatments and the potentialcomplications of oncology. The subspecialties gain a remarkable breadth of specialized skills and are specially trained in the diagnosis as well as medical and surgical treatment of women with gynecologic cancers.
The professionals who have pursued this subspecialty training can also perform surgery involved in the treatment/removal of benign and malignant tumors, while some may even administer chemotherapy.Usually, these subspecialistssee patients together with other cancer specialists. It could be a medical oncologist to supervise chemotherapy and a radiation oncologist for administering radiation for cancer treatment. It is essential to seek consultation from a gynecologic oncologist before surgery to ensure the best treatment routinefor conditions related to gynecologic cancers.
A gynecologic oncologist must complete three or four years of subspecialty training in gynecologic oncology fellowship from an accredited hospital or clinic after finishing a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology.
One of the most well-known subsets of gynecology, this OB-GYN subspecialty is focused on consultation and care of patients with high-risk pregnancies. A high-risk pregnancy may be a case of anill woman becoming pregnant or a pregnant woman becoming sick, threatening the life or health of the woman or her fetus. Unexpected complexities and risks in pregnancy can occur due to a condition of the mother or a baby.The maternal/fetal medicine(MFM) subspecialists had advanced knowledge and training in handling potential complications that develop during pregnancy, such as vaginal delivery of a child in the breech position, difficulty in carrying the baby to full gestation, uncontrolled diabetes in the mother, too little fluid in the womb/uterus, and so on. They provide peer and patient education as well as perform research on advanced approached and treatments.
This obstetrical subspecialty sometimes referred to as perinatologyprepares individuals by providing detailed and in-depth knowledge of obstetrics,and provides expertise in addressing both medical and surgical complications that may arise during pregnancy. The individuals who specialize in maternal/fetal medicine are also trained in different modern approaches to diagnosis and treatment, as well as newborn adaptation. Mostly women during pregnancy start visiting a regular OB-GYN physician but may be referred to anMFM subspecialist in case complications in pregnancy arises. They will start the required treatment before birth, provide monitoring, transfusion of blood, and surgery to support the fetus until ready to arrive in the world.
Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
After four-yeartraining in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB-GYN), a three-year approved fellowship needs to be successfully completed by the individuals.Residents cansubspecialize in the fellowship training of reproductive endocrinology and infertility(REI) where they attain advanced knowledge and research skills in training in the diagnosis and treatment of endocrinology and infertility disorders in the human reproductive system. It is classified as one of the original, recognized surgical subspecialtiesin obstetrics and gynecology. The REI subspecialists focus on the evaluation and treatment ofcomplex problems relating to fertility and other reproductive health issues utilizing an array of assisted reproductive technologies (ART). They also focus on the potential biological causes and interventional treatment of infertility.
Reproductiveendocrinology and infertility subspecialistsare also proficient in diagnosing and developing treatment plans concerned with the health of female urinary tract and surgery as a treatment.If you are experiencing trouble conceiving and become pregnant, you can get in touch with a qualified reproductive endocrinologist. These infertility experts can assist couples with conceiving a baby using medical techniques that include medications in the form of pills and injections, embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedures. Their expertise can also help individuals facing reproductive health issues, hormonal dysfunctions, and fertility disorders.
Urogynecology/Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery
Urogynecology/Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery is probably the least popular surgical subspecialty focused on the treatment of conditions related to female pelvis and urinary disorders. This subspecialty is focused on diagnosis and treatment of disorders such as pelvic organ prolapse, stress urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, bladder pain, overactive bladdersyndrome, and vaginal or urinary tract infections. This gynecologic subspecialty also deals withdamage of the muscle and connective tissue positioned just below a female’s pelvis, also called the pelvic floor. OB-GYN physicians who specialize in this subspecialty must be aware of the potential complexitiesin benign pelvic conditions, pelvic floor dysfunction, lower urinary tract disorders, and reconstructive pelvic surgery.
Stress urinary incontinence is one of the most common urinary problems faced by women, where they are unable to control their bladder during cough, sneeze, laugh, or other activities that ‘stress’ their abdominal muscles.Urogynecologists can treat these conditions with medications and surgical procedures. Pelvic floor disorders are common among elderly or disabled women, and one in three adult women suffer from incontinence or prolapse. Such disorders are also treatable by these subspecialists.
After finishing general obstetrics and gynecology training of four years, the female pelvic medicine specialists and reconstructive surgeons will have to receive three-year fellowship training in female pelvic health and pelvic reconstructive surgery.
There are other subspecialties that OB-GYNs may choose to specialize, however, only the four discussed above are the truly recognized, board-certified subspecialties by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Various subspecialties of OB-GYNs, recognized as informal concentrations of practice, include Pediatric and adolescent gynecology; Advanced laparoscopic surgery; Family planning; and Menopausal and geriatric gynecology.
What to Expect During Your First Ever OB-GYN Visit?
If you are visiting an OB-GYN for the first time, make sure you schedule it during the middle period of your menstrual cycle. Generally, young women should first visit an OB-GYN between the ages of 13 to 15 years or when you become sexually active, whatever happens first. It is perfectly normal to be nervous about your first-ever visit to an OB-GYN. Your first visit may include a talk between you and your doctor. You might also want to know about your mother’s or an older sister’s medical history before the exam as the doctor would possibly want to know about it as well. Your OB-GYN doctor may also ask many questions about your concerns and your family medical history, especially your mother or an older sister if any. Some questions may seem too personal and could be regarding your menstrual cycle or sexual activities.
Your OB-GYN appointment usually starts with a general physical exam for any health concerns that you may have. It includes checking your height, weight, and blood pressure. You may also have your blood and urine tests done by the nurse before the examination. Next is an external genital exam for which the nurse will ask you to undress completely. You will be given a hospital gown that is open at the front, and a drape sheet to cover the lap area to make you a bit comfortable during the examination.
Once you are dressed in your gown, you will be asked to sit on the examination table with your feet in the footrests or stirrups. If the position embarrasses you, just remember that most adult women have these exams on a regular basis and it is being done for a good reason.
The physical examination will include an abdominal exam, a breast exam, and a pelvic exam. Such exams should not induce any pain, but if it does, you should tell your OB-GYN right away.
Generally, a pelvic exam is not required at the first visit, unless you have related problems, such as pelvic pain, irregular bleeding, or have signs of an infection. If a pelvic exam is required, it will involve your OB-GYN looking at the vulva area and examiningyour reproductive organs from inside. Your OB-GYN will also check the walls of your vagina and cervix with a speculum for abnormalities. A lubricant is often used as the OB-GYN insert his/her gloved fingers inside to make this part of the exam more comfortable.
Another test that is usually done in the course of the pelvic exam is a Pap test; however, it is not required until you are 21. This test examines if there are any abnormalities in the cervix, which could lead to cervical cancer. During a Pap test, your OB-GYN will use a small brush to remove a sample of cells from your cervix, which will be sent to a lab for checked for abnormalities or the possibility of cervical cancer.
If you are sexually active, your OB-GYN will also test for STDs, like syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV. For this, a swab of tissue taken the pelvic exam is used or if your OB-GYN can check blood test reports. It is recommended that you should avoid sexual intercourse or a vaginal douche at least two days before the examination.
All this may sound a bit traumatic or intrusive for someone visiting an OB-GYN for the first time but mostcheckups are tolerable and an essential part of every woman’s lifestyle. Annual checkups at the OB-GYN care center are recommended for every woman.
Tips on Choosing Your OB-GYN Doctor/Physician
OB-GYNs do more than just handling pregnancy worries; they deal with their patient’s most personal and sensitive health issues and see the most private parts of their body. This, as a patient, becomes all the more very important for you to find a good OB-GYN doctor whom you can trust and be comfortable with sharing everything about your health problems without feeling awkward or embarrassed. Here are some tips to consider while you choosean OB-GYN:
- Ask a referral from a family member, friend, or your primary care physician (PCP)
- Decide whether you would prefer a male or female Ob-Gyn, as it would require you to undress completely during examinations
- Meet the OB-GYN before deciding and see how comfortable you feel discussing your problems with him or her
- You may also ask about the doctor’s medical experience, specialization, etc. (verify the credentials of an OB-GYN by contacting ABOG)
- At which hospital does he or she have admitting privileges
- Ask if your health insurance is accepted there or not
- Ask who will cover for him or her when they are not available in case of emergencies
Find an Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB-GYN) Near Me
Every woman deserves personalized care that fits her individual needs and lifestyle. If you or a loved one needs advice or wants to discuss complex problems related to periods, sexual health, pregnancy, childbirth, or anything related to your well-being, it is the right time to visit a women’s health care center like All Women’s Care. We are one of the most modern and recognized women’s healthcare facilities that provide specialized obstetrical and gynecological care to women in all phase of lifein a comprehensive and comfortable environment. If you are located near the Los Angeles area, call us at 213-250-9461 and schedule an appointment with our expert OB-GYNdoctors to lead a long, healthy life.