Obstetrics: involves care during pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and immediately after delivery.

Gynecology: involves care of all women's health issues.

Obstetrics and gynaecology is concerned with the care of pregnant woman, her unborn child and the management of diseases specific to women. The specialty combines medicine and surgery.

Nature of the work:

In gynaecology, patients range from those who have chronic disorders which are not life threatening (but interfere significantly with quality of life), to those where an acute emergency presentation is the first indication of a gynaecological problem.

Gynaecology is concerned with the well-being and health of the female reproductive organs and the ability to reproduce. It includes endocrinology, female urology and pelvic malignancy. The specialty spans paediatric and adolescent gynaecological problems through to later years.

In obstetrics most women, although pregnant, are otherwise fit and healthy. However, others will have acute or chronic medical problems that complicate their pregnancy and are under the specific care of an obstetrician.

Common procedures/interventions:

Obstetrics:

Within obstetrics, most of the care of low risk mothers and uncomplicated deliveries are performed .

About 35% of births are undertaken by an obstetrician, usually for more complex cases or if the baby becomes distressed during labour. Their work includes:

  • Using instruments to assist delivery – including forceps or a ventouse (vacuum-assisted delivery)
  • Performing caesarean sections, either as a planned or emergency procedure

Gynaecology:

Within gynaecology procedures include:

  • Carrying out surgical interventions following miscarriage
  • Treating abnormal bleeding and polyps
  • Major surgery for gynaecological cancers
  • Minimal access surgery for problems including endometriosis

Keyhole or minimal access surgery is now commonplace and has many advantages.

Assisted reproduction (fertility treatment) has helped many thousands of women have a family, which would not have been possible in the last generation.