Obstetricians are OB/GYN physicians that focus exclusively on obstetrics, or the branch of medicine that covers pregnancy and childbirth. These specialists provide comprehensive prenatal care, including labor and delivery planning, and, when required, surgical care during pregnancy and childbirth. Obstetricians also handle postnatal care.
Some obstetricians choose to specialize in maternal-fetal medicine (MFM), a branch of obstetrics that focuses on pregnant women who have chronic health problems, such as diabetes, hypertension, or epilepsy, or women who experience abnormal issues during pregnancy. MFM obstetricians are considered high-risk experts.
After graduating from medical school, obstetricians must complete a four-year specialized residency training that focuses on all aspects of prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care, in addition to covering all aspects of women’s reproductive care and primary care, including health maintenance, preventive care, and disease management. Obstetricians who choose to specialize in MFM must go on to complete two to three years of additional training, which is followed by a comprehensive exam process to become fully board-certified.
Obstetricians provide routine prenatal care starting with the initial appointment, which usually occurs about eight weeks after your last menstrual period. Your doctor at North Texas OB/GYN starts with a comprehensive health exam, including a pelvic exam, and an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and help establish your due date. Throughout your pregnancy, your doctor performs routine ultrasound screenings as well as a variety of tests to assess the health of you and your baby.
Routine prenatal checkups with an obstetrician usually occur once a month through the end of your second trimester, twice a month between weeks 28 and 36, and once a week until you deliver.
Obstetricians are specially trained to handle virtually any issue or problem that may develop during pregnancy, and are uniquely qualified to deal with high-risk pregnancies. If you have a chronic health condition, are over age 35, are carrying multiple babies, or have a history of miscarriage, preterm labor, or cesarean delivery, having a board-certified obstetrician manage your pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum care can be highly beneficial.
Obstetricians are also trained to treat problems that commonly develop during normal pregnancies, including fetal distress, preeclampsia, placental abruption, shoulder dystocia, uterine rupture, a prolapsed cord, and obstetrical hemorrhaging.
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