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What Is an Obstetrician?

What Is an Obstetrician?

An obstetrician is a medical practitioner who offers preconception, pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum medical and surgical treatment.

What is the difference between a gynecologist and an obstetrician?
What is the difference between a gynecologist and an obstetrician?

Obstetrics, as opposed to Gynecology

Australian obstetricians are also gynecologists, meaning they treat all women’s health concerns. The two disciplines comprise the OB/GYN title, which is considered a single specialty.

The OB/GYN specialty involves completion of both residency and medical school. Some OB-GYNs will gain expertise in maternal-fetal medicine, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, and female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.

You must pass the Medical Board of Australia’s certification test to get board certification.

A physician may opt to practice just one aspect of the OB/GYN specialty. For instance, they may specialize in obstetrics and solely treat patients with preconception, pregnancy, labour, and postpartum conditions. Obstetricians can deliver babies.

A physician who provides gynecology services will treat patients for any female health-related concerns, including the female reproductive system. Although a gynecologist may offer preconception and early pregnancy care, many physicians urge their patients to switch to an OB/GYN specializing in obstetrics.

Obstetrics and gynecology

Additional Specialization of an Obstetrician

Obstetricians in Australia are also capable of specializing in maternal-fetal medicine (MFM). Doctors with the MFM subspecialty concentrate on chronic health disorders and abnormal pregnancy complications. You may consult with an MFM if your pregnancy has a high risk. Some physicians practise both obstetrics and gynecology and give treatments in both areas.

Similarly, some OB-GYNs focus on medical genetics and genomics (MGG). Clinical geneticists, as they are commonly known, provide diagnostic, treatment, and genetic counselling services to parents with or at risk for genetically-related health disorders. After finishing their OB-GYN residency, doctors must complete a two-year training program to get certified in MGG.

Some OB/GYNs provide treatment to severely sick patients, mainly in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital. These physicians have undergone extra training to collaborate with other ICU physicians. In addition to obstetricians and gynecologists, laborists are other hospital-based OB/GYN that help women with pregnancy complications during labour and delivery. These doctors may admit patients, provide emergency care, manage labour, and deliver newborns.

OB/GYNs are capable of doing both large and minor surgical operations. The Australian Medical Association lists hysterectomy, laparoscopic surgery (often with robotic aid), hysteroscopic operations, and laparotomy with pelvic organ surgery as significant surgical procedures. Amniocentesis, colposcopy, cervix conization, abortion, hysteroscopy, and saline sonograms are the four in-office procedures.

How an Obstetrician is Distinct From Other Doctors

You may choose an obstetrician as your main care provider. However, you will likely only utilize them as your main care physician if they provide treatments beyond preconception, pregnancy, labour, and postpartum.

They are distinguished from other doctors by their expertise in the medical and surgical management of the female reproductive system. It enables them to act as advisers to doctors and as women’s primary care providers. Many people opt to see an obstetrician in addition to their primary care physician for pregnancy-related problems. If you have medical issues that extend beyond preconception and pregnancy, you may choose to see a family practitioner or another kind of physician who can offer comprehensive treatment.

One research indicated that primary care doctors are more likely than obstetrician-gynecologists to treat concurrent medical concerns during preventative gynecologic consultations.

Obstetrics Child Birth
You should choose your Obstetrician carefully

Finding a Gynecologist

Consult your primary care physician: The physician you may already be seeing may assist you in locating an obstetrician in your region.

Examine your insurance policy to see what is covered: Consult your insurance provider for suggestions. They may only give benefits to in-network physicians. If so, you will need to work from that list or inquire about out-of-network coverage if you discover an obstetrician who is not included in their plan.

Request referrals from relatives and friends: You can always turn to those you trust for assistance and advice.

Look online: You may explore provider biographies, qualifications, patient testimonials, board certifications, and hospital suggestions online.

What to Search For When Looking for an Obstetrician

Before deciding on an obstetrician to offer care, consult your insurance company’s list of providers. You may choose to begin your search with the list of in-network obstetricians.

The second stage in locating an obstetrician involves your medical history. If you have any pre-existing health issues affecting your pregnancy, you should consult a maternal-fetal medicine specialist or an obstetrician with advanced expertise in high-risk pregnancies.

Another factor to consider is the hospital or birthing facility where the doctor will deliver the baby. Does it participate in your insurance network, or will you incur extra out-of-pocket costs, which may be substantial for childbirth? Consider the degree of NICU care provided by the institution.

Other factors you should consider are- the proportion of cesarean births they conduct, the sort of pain treatment they prefer, if they permit a doula during the delivery and whether they are open to a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).

A perinatologist may be required if your pregnancy is high-risk. They have received further training to address pregnancy issues. If you are carrying multiple infants, have a chronic health condition, or have a history of miscarriage, cesarean birth, or premature labour, be sure to ask pertinent questions.

Experience with problems such as preeclampsia, ectopic pregnancy, placental abruption, prolapsed cord, uterine rupture, and fetal distress are additional talents for an obstetrician.

You may wish to choose an obstetrician with considerable training and expertise with certain high-risk illnesses and conditions, even though you may never encounter them.

Obstetrics Child Birth
What questions should you ask your obstetrician?

What Questions to Ask Before Selecting an


When beginning your search, consult your physician for guidance. You may also ask relatives and friends if they have any recommendations. The following questions can assist you in selecting the best OB for you.

  • Does this physician have an excellent reputation?
  • What are this physician’s education and experience?
  • How does the OB handle pregnancy and delivery in general?
  • Will the OB support the sort of labour and delivery I want
  • Am I at ease with the OB’s recommendations on when to do a c-section or induce labour?
  • How many OB patients have C-sections?
  • What proportion of the obstetrician’s patients undergo episiotomies, and under what conditions are they performed?
  • Will the OB support my decision to work with a doula if I want to work with one?
  • How does the physician handle pain during labour?
  • Who fills in for the OB if they are unavailable?
  • If another OB may deliver the baby, can I meet them beforehand?
  • Does the doctor listen to me and provide me with a clear explanation?
  • Is my spouse or partner at ease with this physician?
  • Is the office personnel friendly and accommodating?
  • Is the location of the office convenient?
  • How are after-hours and emergency calls handled?
  • Which hospital does the OB belong to?
  • Does my insurance cover the services of this doctor?

What Role An Obstetrician Plays in Your Pregnancy

Obstetricians perform an essential function throughout pregnancy. If you are attempting to conceive, you may already see an obstetrician; if not, you will likely schedule an appointment once you discover your pregnancy.

Prenatal Checkups

A preconception checkup with an obstetrician is possible during the preconception period. The purpose of this visit, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is to uncover anything that might affect your pregnancy. Expect to review your medical history, nutrition, lifestyle, medicines, previous pregnancies, and any diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid disease that may influence your pregnancy.

After a positive result from a home pregnancy test, it is time to schedule an appointment with an obstetrician. The standard recommendation is to schedule an appointment roughly eight weeks following your last menstrual cycle. This first session will enable your obstetrician to confirm your pregnancy and establish a prenatal visit schedule. Expect your doctor to follow your progress, measure your weight gain, check your bp (blood pressure), examine the abdomen to monitor the baby’s development, check the baby’s heartbeat, and answer questions you may have during normal prenatal appointments.

Obstetricians receive training to address anxiety and other mental health issues during pregnancy. During your pregnancy, you will normally attend these checkups every month.

Routine checkups with your obstetrician

As necessary, your obstetrician may do ultrasounds and laboratory testing. They will be involved if your high-risk pregnancy requires amniocentesis. An obstetrician may conduct a variety of techniques during labour, including vaginal delivery, c-section, cervical cerclage, episiotomy, forceps deliveries, and dilation/curettage.

Prenatal Care

Their involvement in your pregnancy continues after delivery. At least one additional appointment with an obstetrician will be scheduled during postpartum. It is typically a six-week follow-up appointment to assess healing and address any issues during pregnancy or childbirth. The doctor will also investigate postpartum mental health concerns such as anxiety or depression and answer questions regarding birth control options.

Why do I need to see obstetrician?
Why do I need to see an obstetrician?

Final Thoughts

Choosing an obstetrician to supervise your pregnancy and delivery is a significant choice. Take your time, ask many questions, and get advice from dependable friends and relatives. Ensure that they meet your requirements and personal demands, especially if you are pregnant with a high-risk baby. Remember that you can always switch providers if you’re uncomfortable.