While both obstetrics and gynecology address female reproductive health, obstetrics specifically relates to the care and treatment of pregnant women. Obstetricians are often also gynecologists, and can provide care to women throughout their lives. While a woman is pregnant the obstetrician performs certain services including:
Prenatal care assists to keep you and your child healthy. Babies of mothers who don’t receive prenatal exams are three times more likely be born with a low birth weight and five times more likely to die. The physician can identify health issues early when mothers have regular exams. Doctors can also discuss what the mother can do to provide their unborn child with a healthy start.
The prenatal evaluation and exam will include several routine health checks and tests, including blood work, obtaining weight and blood pressure, and collection of urine samples. As the pregnancy moves forward, the OB/GYN will oversee the baby’s heart rate in addition to yours and will use ultrasounds to monitor the development and growth of the fetus. Prenatal checkups will take place throughout the entire course of the pregnancy, up to delivery.
Prenatal care is very important to keep women and their unborn babies healthy and to identify potential risks that could interfere with pregnancy and delivery. Most women will need to see their doctor every month for the first seven months or so, then every other week until week 36, and then every week until delivery. Women who have high-risk pregnancies will probably need to be seen more frequently.
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