What is an OBGYN? [Summary & Services]

What is an OBGYN? [Summary & Services]

Gynecologists, obstetricians, midwives, doulas, primary care physicians… and now OBGYNs? What’s the difference? There are so many different names for medical professionals who are involved in women’s health that it can become confusing to know what you need and when.

Here’s a quick summary of what an OBGYN is and what they can do for your health.

What is an OBGYN?

An obstetrician-gynecologist, or OBGYN, is a healthcare professional that specializes in female reproductive health.

People trained as OBGYNs specialize in both obstetrics and gynecology:

  • Obstetrics involves working with pregnant women, including delivering babies
  • Gynecology involves the female reproductive system, treating a wide range of conditions, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and chronic pain

OBGYNs are also trained surgeons who can perform a variety of procedures and services for their female patients.

What services does an OBGYN provide?

OBGYNs can perform the following services and/or procedures for patients:

  • Cesarean sections
  • Instrumental deliveries during childbirth
  • A hysterectomy
  • Removing growths, such as ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids
  • Surgery to repair pelvic organ injuries
  • Pap smears to test for cervical cancer
  • STI tests
  • Fertility treatments, such as egg retrievals for IVF or egg-freezing
  • Pelvic ultrasounds to check the pelvic organs and monitor pregnancy
  • Infertility treatments and counseling
  • Management of urinary issues, such as urinary tract infections and urinary incontinence
  • Treating common problems, such as anemia
  • Breast exams and breast health management, including mammograms and other breast cancer screenings

OBGYNs may also address general women’s health needs. These may include:

  • Screening for mental health issues
  • Filling prescriptions for common ailments
  • Performing blood work for common diseases
  • Referring patients to specialists

When do you need to see an OBGYN?

The short answer: it depends. It depends on your health needs and preferences. Some women see only their OBGYN and consider them to be their primary care provider for all of their general health needs, therefore seeing them several times a year. Many other women see them once a year to check in on their reproductive health.

You may also see an OBGYN if you become pregnant or are trying to become pregnant. They can monitor you and your baby’s health throughout pregnancy and even deliver your baby.

Is an OBGYN different from a Midwife?

Yes and no. While they are both able to serve women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, the real differences lie in their education and certification. Here are the basic differences between a Board Certified Nurse Midwife and an OBGYN:

Board Certified Nurse Midwife

  • Master of Science in Nursing; Registered Nurse, certified through the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)
  • Can assist with home births, birth center births, or hospital births
  • Focuses on prenatal care, childbirth, women’s health, postpartum care, menopause care
  • Able to prescribe medication
  • Able to prescribe contraception


  • 4 years of medical school, plus 4 years of residency, 3 years of specialization
  • Can assist with hospital births and any surgical procedures, including C-sections
  • Focuses on prenatal care, surgical prenatal care, childbirth, surgical childbirth, women’s health, postpartum care, menopause care
  • Able to prescribe medication
  • Able to prescribe contraception

Are you interested in seeing a Board Certified Nurse Midwife? Learn more about midwifery and our resident midwife here!

No matter what you choose for your health needs, you have options.

Your reproductive health is so important! Whether you choose to visit an OBGYN or another women’s health care provider, make sure you’re taking care of you.

Have you *finally* gotten your BFP? Are you looking for an OBGYN and live in the San Tan Valley? Let us join you on your pregnancy journey and help you find a path to motherhood that works for you. Book an appointment today!