We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Difference Between Obstetricians and Gynecologists?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Obstetricians and gynecologists both typically deal with aspects of the female reproductive system, but there are a few basic differences between the two kinds of specialists. In most cases, obstetricians care for women during pregnancy, as well as immediately following the delivery of the baby during the postpartum period. On the other hand, gynecologists usually provide preventive care and treatment when it comes to issues with the female reproductive system. This often includes birth control, Pap smears, and management of menstrual irregularities. Some doctors are considered both obstetricians and gynecologists, or OB/GYN, while others specialize in just one of the fields.

When a woman faces menstrual irregularities, she is typically referred to a gynecologist. For example, periods that are unusually painful may need to be diagnosed and treated, which the typical gynecologist can do. A menstrual period that is missing completely may also be investigated by this type of doctor, and often requires a pregnancy test to rule out the possibility of this result. While a gynecologist usually administers the test, the woman is typically referred to an obstetrician if it is positive. Of course, since some doctors act as both obstetricians and gynecologists, many women are able to keep the same physician before and during pregnancy.

A woman who is trying to prevent pregnancy, and is having trouble choosing between obstetricians and gynecologists, should typically select the latter. This is because a gynecologist is often an expert at helping women decide which type of birth control is best for them. In addition, this kind of doctor also usually offers testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and can provide information on how to prevent them. Additionally, most women need to go to a gynecologist for their annual exam to screen for cervical cancer, breast cancer, and other reproductive health issues. If there is a need for a hysterectomy, this is the specialist to go to, as well.

On the other hand, women who are looking to become pregnant, or who already are, should see an obstetrician. This is the doctor who can officially confirm the pregnancy if this has not already been done through a gynecologist. Additionally, pregnant women can expect to see this kind of physician at least once a month for most of the pregnancy, as ultrasounds, fetal heart monitoring, and screenings for diseases and chromosomal abnormalities are typically offered by most obstetricians. This is usually the doctor who will be present during labor and delivery, and should also typically offer a postpartum check-up afterward to make sure that the new mother is healing correctly. Women who plan to become pregnant, and do not want to switch doctors, may consider browsing specialists who are listed as OB/GYNs, meaning that they are both obstetricians and gynecologists.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.

Discussion Comments

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.