Obstetrics involves the care of women during childbirth, including the process of childbirth itself as well as conditions that affect the women during the last week before delivery and the period of time immediately after childbirth. Obstetricians who have surgical experience often are required to perform C-sections or various types of pelvic reconstruction if something goes awry during the birthing process. Obstetrics is a very precise field in that it involves only a short period of time within a woman’s life. During that short window of time, the body goes through dramatic and life-altering changes.
The main difference between a gynecologist and an obstetrician is that the obstetrician only deals with women during the time of childbirth. A gynecologist specializes in the care of women of all ages, during all of the physical changes of their lives. Many gynecologists return to school to receive a degree in obstetrics so they can offer their patients the same level of care at all times without having to send them to a different doctor during childbirth. Both types of physicians must go through a surgical residency for each field if they want to be certified as a surgeon.
An obstetrician can perform many different types of surgeries. The most common is a C-section. C-sections are recommended if the mother cannot give birth vaginally. There are times during childbirth when something goes wrong, and the mother is injured in some way. An obstetrician can go in and surgically repair any issues that may be present. An obstetrician can also help the mother when the birth is extremely difficult. Episiotomies are small incisions that are made that will allow the baby to pass through the outer opening of the vagina without causing damage. This type of procedure is left up to the discretion of the doctor at the time of the birth.
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