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An OB-GYN specialist focuses on the treatment, diagnosis, and care of a woman's reproductive system. This type of doctor also focuses on caring for women during pregnancy and childbirth. He can typically provide surgical care as well. An individual with this title often handles preventative care, diagnostic tests, and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases; he also provides necessary health screenings, advises patients on caring for their own health, and helps them with family planning. Family planning care may include not only birth control, but also surgery to prevent pregnancy permanently.
A doctor who wants to become an OB-GYN specialist often spends a good deal of time caring for pregnant women. He uses his many years of education and training to help women through pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the period of time after childbirth. This type of specialist may help patients who have normal, healthy pregnancies as well as those who have serious medical conditions that complicate their pregnancies. Additionally, this doctor may perform operations to remove babies through a female’s abdomen when vaginal childbirth is risky or not desired.
An OB-GYN specialist also performs the tasks of a gynecologist. For example, a person in this field performs health screenings that women need or may desire, including pap tests. He may also perform infection checks and treat any conditions that are discovered. Sometimes these doctors perform breast exams as well in an effort to provide early detection of breast cancer. This type of doctor also provides diagnosis and treatment for a full range of conditions that affect the female reproductive organs.
Often, an OB-GYN specialist helps his patients with their family planning needs. For example, this type of doctor may help his patients consider their birth control options and provide prescriptions. He may also help patients deal with the side effects that may sometimes develop because of birth control use. Some OB-GYN specialists may also perform elective or medically necessary abortions.
A person who chooses to become an OB-GYN specialist usually commits to many years of education and training. These doctors complete college and medical school, which together take about eight years to finish. Then, they usually complete residency training, which is on-the-job training that lasts for at least four years. In most places, an aspiring OB-GYN specialist must also pass a licensing exam to become a practicing physician and may have to pass a certification exam as well.