What Are Obstetricians and Gynecologists?

Obstetricians and gynecologists (OB-GYNs) are medical doctors who specialize in the health of women. They provide care for women of all ages, from adolescence through menopause and beyond.

Obstetricians focus on pregnancy and childbirth. They provide prenatal care to pregnant women, and they deliver babies. OBs also manage any complications that may arise during pregnancy or childbirth.

Gynecologists focus on the general health of women’s reproductive organs. They provide preventive care, such as annual pelvic exams and Pap tests, and they diagnose and treat conditions such as menstrual disorders, sexually transmitted infections, and infertility.

Some OB-GYNs specialize in both obstetrics and gynecology, while others specialize in one area or the other.

What to expect when seeing an OB-GYN

When you see an OB-GYN, they will ask you about your medical history and your current health. They will also perform a physical exam, which may include a pelvic exam.

If you are pregnant, your OB-GYN will monitor your pregnancy and provide you with prenatal care. They will also deliver your baby.

If you are not pregnant, your OB-GYN will provide you with preventive care and diagnose and treat any conditions you may have.

When to see an OB-GYN

You should see an OB-GYN for the first time when you reach puberty. You should then see an OB-GYN for regular checkups, even if you are not sexually active and do not plan to have children.

You should also see an OB-GYN if you experience any of the following:

  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Sexually transmitted infection symptoms

If you are pregnant, you should see an OB-GYN for prenatal care.


OB-GYNs play an important role in the health of women. They provide preventive care, diagnose and treat conditions, and deliver babies. If you are a woman, it is important to see an OB-GYN for regular checkups.