The obstetrician-gynecologist (obgyn) is said to be the most important health care partner of women. The obgyn is a physician specialist who performs the work of both an obstetrician and a gynecologist. An obstetrician is a physician who is especially trained to work with all aspects of pregnancy, including family planning, conception, delivery, and health of the mother and child after birth. A gynecologist is a physician who specializes in the care, diagnosis and treatment of disorders and diseases of the female reproductive system.
An obgyn has four years of special training in pregnancy, delivery and women's health. Depending on his or her interests, the obgyn may specialize in acute and chronic medical conditions, adolescent gynecology, behavioral problems, cancer, endocrinology, health maintenance during pregnancy, infertility, operative gynecology, pregnancy and delivery, preventative health and urinary tract disorders. Obgyns may become board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology once they meet the requirements of the Board and pass its certifying examinations.
A woman should regularly (at least once a year) see her obgyn after age 18 or after becoming sexually active. A woman should also visit an obgyn if she has any health concerns or if she decides to get pregnant.