Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN)
What is Obstetrics and Gynecology?
Obstetrics focuses on pregnancy, childbirth and the direct care of a woman giving birth. Having a healthy baby starts with a healthy pregnancy. Doctors specializing in this area offer a variety of services including prenatal, perinatal (high-risk pregnancy) and postpartum care so you and your baby can have a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Gynecology directly correlates with the functions and conditions of a female's reproductive system. Doctors help you maintain optimum health during pregnancy and through labor and delivery by making sure your reproductive system is free of disease.
What Does an Obstetrician and Gynecologist Do?
An obstetrician specializes in managing the care of women during pregnancy, labor and birth, as well as equipped to handle emergency situations. Obstetricians care for all women during pregnancy whether their pregnancy is normal or high risk.
A gynecologist specializes in the care and diagnosis of a female's reproductive system specializing in the following:
- Menstrual Problems: menstrual blood clots, unusual color and thickness.
- Contraception: use of deliberate birth control to prevent pregnancy.
- Menopause:halt of a female’s menstrual cycle, usually between 45-50 years of age.
- Infertility: inability to conceive a child.
- Prenatal Care: health care provided while a patient is pregnant.
- Patient Education: health care that promotes the health of both mother and child during pregnancy.
What Conditions Does an Obstetrician Treat?
Obstetricians do not treat diseases specifically. They specialize in the treatment of complications that coincide with pregnancy and childbirth including:
- Prenatal Care: preventative health care by providing regular check-ups to a woman throughout pregnancy.
- Twins Gestation: when two offspring are produced in the same pregnancy.
- Gestational Diabetes and Diabetes Mellitus: when any degree of glucose intolerance is found before or during pregnancy.
- Gestational Hypertension and Pre-Eclampsia: a condition causing high blood pressure during pregnancy and delivery.
- Placenta Abruption: when the placenta pulls away from the inner walls of the uterus before delivery.
- Preterm Labor: when a woman's body begins to go into labor before she is full term.
- Fetal Distress: when a child becomes unwell or distressed during labor.
- Uterine Rupture: a tear in the uterus wall. Found at the site of a previous C-section.
- Intrauterine Growth: refers to poor growth of a child while in the womb. Typically when a child weighs less than 90 percent of other children their same gestational age.
- Grand Multiparity: multiparous is when a woman has given birth more than once. Grand multiparity is when a woman has delivered five or more children. Such instances put a woman at much higher risk during pregnancy and labor.
- Advanced Maternal Age: any expectant mother who is over 35 years of age. The risk of stillbirth in women of this age is significantly higher than those in younger years.
What Conditions Does a Gynecologist Treat?
- Endometriosis/Adenomyosis: existence and expansion of endometrial tissues outside the uterus typically resulting in harsh pain and infertility.
- Vulvar Disease: infections that affect the exterior folds of skin on the vagina.
- Vaginitis: inflammation caused by a bacteria or fungal infection.
- Urinary Incontinence: inability to keep urine from leaking out of the urethra.
- Infertility: typically noted after 12 months of inability to conceive a child.
- Sexual Dysfunction: inability to experience satisfaction from a sexual experience.
- Ovarian Cysts and Masses: when the egg releases it can cause a fluid-filled sac to form. A cyst or mass can occur during a woman's childbearing years.
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): experience of symptoms from fatigue, irritability, breast tenderness and depression during the pre-menstrual cycle.
- Uterine Prolapse: usually occurs after a woman has had one or more vaginal deliveries causing the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. The uterus can, in turn, slip lower into or out of the vagina.
- Cancer of Reproductive Organs: many symptoms go unnoticed without being diagnosed. Several forms include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma of the vagina, sarcoma of the vagina, etc.
- Amenorrhea: the absence of the menstruation cycle.
- Dysmenorrhea: painful menstruation accompanied by aching pain, pressure in the abdomen and severe pain in the lower back.
- Menorrhagia: unusually heavy menstrual bleeding that causes severe discomfort in the form of cramping.
What Services Does an Obstetrician Perform?
- Ultrasounds: ability to use vibrations to form a two-dimensional image. Typically used to examine a fetus during pregnancy.
- Preconception Counseling and Testing: obstetrician checks for any probable complications or risks involved with a pregnancy. They will also encourage patients to become their healthiest before taking the next steps toward pregnancy.
- Biophysical Profiles: an obstetrician will track the growth of the child by performing a biophysical profile (BBP) test in the last trimester of pregnancy. A BBP test measures the movement, heart rate, breathing and amniotic fluid around the baby.
- Vaginal and Cesarean Deliveries: vaginal birth is when a woman gives birth to a child vaginally. Cesarean, more commonly known as a C-section, is a procedure where a baby is delivered through an incision in the mother's abdomen.
What Services Does a Gynecologist Perform?
- Annual Exams: helps to prevent and treat any irregularities of the female reproductive organs.
- Minimally-Invasive Gynecologic Surgery: treatment of common gynecologic conditions like endometriosis, fibroids and abnormal bleeding.
- Cancer Screenings: when performing a pap smear, abnormal tissues can be identified to diagnose cancer.
- STD Testing and Treatment: if sexually active a gynecologist will screen for multiple STDs including HIV, syphilis, genital herpes, HPV, etc.
Benefits of UnityPoint Clinic OB/GYN
Living your best life is important to you. That’s why at UnityPoint Clinic, our team of obstetricians and gynecologists are committed to your expert care. From annual exams and ongoing care to pregnancy and beyond, our OB/GYN doctors are trusted experts who understand your health care needs at every stage of your life. We work together with you and other specialists when needed to coordinate your care – whether it’s in our clinics, hospitals or even in your home. We’re surrounding you with the best care so you can live your best life.