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What Is Obstetrics? How Is It Different From Gynecology?

Obstetrics is a medical specialty that specifically relates to the care and treatment of pregnant women, while gynecology covers women’s general and reproductive health. Obstetricians often also specialize in gynecology (and vice versa) and provide care to women throughout their lives. Some of the services needed by pregnant women which are provided by obstetricians include:

  •  Answering any questions about pregnancy, fetal development, and labor and delivery
  • Monitoring the health of the mother and developing baby during routine visits
  • Helping patients with common pregnancy complaints including heartburn, leg and back pain, and morning sickness

How Often Do I Need to See an Obstetrician While I’m Pregnant?

Most women to see their doctor every 4 weeks for the first 28 weeks, then biweekly until week 36, and then once a week until the baby is born. Women who have high-risk pregnancies are seen more often. High-risk pregnancies are classified as when the health of the mother or baby is compromised and could result in higher risks during gestation or delivery. These visits enable the doctor to monitor the health of the mother and the development of the baby. The frequency of visits allows the doctor to make sure that everything is developing as expected and the opportunity to diagnose any potential issues as early as possible.

What Happens During Visits to the Obstetrician?

Your obstetrician will perform several routine health checks and tests, including blood work, obtaining weight and blood pressure, and collection of urine samples. As the pregnancy progress, your doctor monitors the growth and development of your baby with ultrasounds and check the heart rate of the fetus. Once the exam is complete, expectant mothers will receive guidance on what to expect during the few weeks until their next appointment, and they’ll have an opportunity to ask questions about their health and pregnancy. Prenatal checkups will take place throughout the entire course of the pregnancy, up to delivery. Your obstetrician provides essential guidance and advice throughout pregnancy to help you remain as healthy as possible to support your pregnancy and prepare for motherhood.