When searching for a doctor for either your pregnancy or feminine health needs, you may come across the terms obstetrician, gynaecologist and OBGYN. Note their differences to understand which type of doctor you need and why:
Obstetricians are specialists who mostly treat issues surrounding pregnancy and childbirth. If you are planning on getting pregnant or you are already pregnant, you need to make plans to visit an obstetrician.
Visiting an obstetrician when planning to get pregnant usually means you want the obstetrician to perform tests that ensure you have no underlying condition that may affect your baby or you need advice on things like what a proper diet is when pregnant and how to conduct yourself during pregnancy.
Visiting an obstetrician while pregnant is not something to opt out of. The obstetrician monitors how your baby is developing, checks for any abnormalities, prescribes vitamins or drugs you might require, answers all the questions you might have and advises you on important things like what you should eat and what you can expect at different stages of your pregnancy.
An obstetrician will also help deliver your baby and monitor and treat you after delivery.
Gynaecologists are specialists who mostly treat issues surrounding women's reproductive health — not necessarily pregnancy. This means that a gynaecologist is a specialist to visit for breast and cervical cancer exams, sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, menstruation abnormalities and problem treatment, urinary tract infection treatment and the treatment of any other illness that is associated with women's health.
OBGYN is an abbreviation for specialists who are skilled, experienced and qualified in both obstetrical and gynaecological services.
Most gynaecologists and obstetricians nowadays are OBGYNs, meaning they have gone back to school to acquire the knowledge, skills and qualifications to treat issues surrounding pregnancies, childbirth and women's reproductive health. This is mostly because they have realised that most women who visit them require both obstetrical and gynaecological services. This does not mean that you won't come across a gynaecologist who might refer you to an obstetrician for specialised care.
What Is the Right Age for a Girl to Visit a Gynaecologist?
The first thing you need to note is that a gynaecologist is not only visited when you are ailing; you need to learn about your reproductive system to better take care of yourself. That said, a girl should visit a gynaecologist around the time she starts menstruating. Visiting a gynaecologist does not also mean that you will get physically examined; this is only done if you are having a problem.