What is an OB-GYN and what do they do?


What does OB-GYN stand for?

OBGYN stands for obstetrician/gynecologist and refers to a doctor who specializes in female reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth. Throughout their life, females require specialized medical care to ensure that their bodies remain healthy. General OB-GYNs typically provide routine medical services and preventative screenings. For more specialized treatment, they might also need to seek the services of someone whose expertise is solely in obstetrics or gynecology.


What is an obstetrician?

An obstetrician is a specialist who deals with all aspects of pregnancy, from prenatal care to post-natal care.They will typically monitor a baby’s health and growth in the womb by performing routine ultrasounds, measurements, along with a variety of tests. Their job is to identify and monitor any health conditions a mother or baby may experience during pregnancy. These could include, but is not limited to, high blood pressure, diabetes, infections, or genetic disorders.

If a patient is taking any medication before getting pregnant, or is required to start a course of medication during pregnancy, most primary care physicians will ask them to consult an obstetrician before getting a prescription to ensure that there are no negative health consequences to the mother or baby.

What is a gynecologist?

Gynecologists are specialists in female reproductive and sexual health. Their medical role is to diagnose and treat reproductive system disorders. This can include, but is certainly not limited to endometriosis, infertility, ovarian cysts, and pelvic pain. When dealing with cancers of the female reproductive system, such as ovarian or cervical cancer, gynecologists are also likely to work together with an oncologist to develop an effective treatment plan.

Gynecologists specialize in the provision of various sexual and reproductive health services for females such as pelvic exams, Pap smears, testing and treatment for vaginal infections, and cancer screenings within the female reproductive system.


How to become an OB-GYN

OBGYNs are medical doctors who have completed their specialized training in the female reproductive system. To become an OB-GYN certified to practice medicine in the USA, first you must complete a bachelor’s degree. It is strongly recommended that you choose a course that is linked closely to math or science. Next, you will need to earn your medical degree. During your last two years of medical school, you will be expected to perform clinical rotations in a hospital under the supervision of licensed doctors. This experience will give you the opportunity to explore various areas of practice including obstetrics and gynecology. Medical University of the Americas offers a wide range of clinical rotations to acquaint students with all aspects of medicine.

After graduating from medical school, you will need to complete a four-year residency specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. Following your residency, you can apply for a medical license and board certification.

Qualifications to become an OB-GYN

Before you begin your career as an OB-GYN, you will first need to complete several educational steps to earn the  qualifications necessary to become a general medical practitioner.. First, you need a bachelor’s degree, typically in a program that requires coursework in biology, chemistry, and statistics.

Next, you can enroll in a four-year medical program. In the first two years of your medical studies, you will be required to study cells and tissues, immunology, infectious diseases, and the reproductive system. During the last two years of medical school, you will be expected to practice medicine in a clinical setting under the careful watch of a medical supervisor.

Once you receive these education qualifications, you can begin your journey towards specialization as an OB-GYN.


Medical residencies to become an OB-GYN

After graduating from medical school, you are eligible to apply for a residency program that trains you to specialize as an OB-GYN. This residency will focus on reproductive health, emergency health care for women, disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

When your residency has been completed, you also have the option to complete an additional three-year fellowship to further develop your specialization.


Becoming a board-certified OB-GYN

You can begin the path towards board certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the fourth year of your residency. You will need this certification to practice as a doctor specializing in OB-GYN. In order to become board-certified, you must first pass a qualifying exam which consists of a written test assessing whether or not you have the specialist knowledge and skills required for what’s to come.

After you complete your written exam, you will undergo an oral exam where you will be asked to revisit past cases during your residency that adequately reflect your experiences of care. This oral exam is typically administered by a board of national experts in the field of specialty which in this case is Obstetrics and Gynecology. Their role is to adequately assess your skills, knowledge, and ability to treat a variety of conditions related to the female reproductive system. This may include caesareans, difficult births, cancer screenings and treatment, and maternity care.

Once you pass both the written and oral exams, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology will notify the relevant entities of your board-certified status.


How can I get funding to train as an OB-GYN?

Those accepted into the Medical University of the Americas (MUA), may receive financial aid from a variety of private and government-funded resources. Information can be found out about the resources available to you based on your nationality. For example, if you are an American citizen, as an MUA student you are eligible to apply for William D. Ford Federal Direct Unsubsidized and Grad PLUS loans, both of which are administered by the United States Department of Education.

If you are a Canadian citizen, you are eligible for Federal loans provided by the Ministry of Education Student Support Branch in your province of residence. Canadian students should contact their nearest branch directly for more information about additional requirements, citing MUA’s school code: ZUBX.

If you are from outside the United States or Canada, check with your government’s national education department to find out if you are eligible for student financial aid. Most students are also eligible for a variety of private loans. These are provided to you directly by your bank rather than through your federal government.


What can you do as an OB-GYN?

You will have the opportunity to perform some amazing work as an OB-GYN, ensuring that women’s bodies are healthy and thriving throughout all stages of life, whether it is helping women screen and prevent cervical/ovarian cancers, ensuring their bodies and babies are healthy during pregnancy, or managing the traumatic experiences of menopause.

Get in touch for more information

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