If you are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, obstetric care is essential. When pregnant women receive this type of care, they ensure that they are receiving the best possible medical treatment for themselves and their babies. Read on to learn why obstetric care is so important.
What is Obstetric Care?
Obstetric care is a medical specialty that involves caring for women, including after conception, throughout their pregnancy, during childbirth, and postnatal care. An obstetrician also manages and treats health conditions related to pregnancy to ensure that you and your baby are healthy throughout the process.
What’s Included in Obstetric Care?
An obstetrician provides various services for women and their babies. Some duties included in obstetric care include:
- Providing prenatal screenings, exams, and checkups to ensure everything is going smoothly with the pregnancy
- Evaluating the size of your baby, growth, and position of your uterus
- Using ultrasounds, blood tests, and urinalysis to monitor pregnancy
- Detecting congenital abnormalities
- Treating health conditions that arise that can affect the health of the baby
- Managing labor and delivery
- Providing postpartum care (up to six weeks after childbirth)
The Difference Between an Obstetrician and Gynecologist
Obstetricians and gynecologists are essential for women’s health. But these two doctors are not the same. An obstetrician specializes in providing care to women during pregnancy. They also deliver babies. A gynecologist specializes in treating the female reproductive system and does not treat women who are pregnant. They also do not deliver babies.
The Difference Between an Obstetrician and Midwife
Because midwives also deliver babies, many people confuse the role of a midwife and obstetrician. A midwife does not have a formal education from a medical school like an obstetrician, but they are professionally trained and certified to support pregnant women and prenatal care and delivery. Midwives tend to give pregnant women more control over their birthing process. A woman may prefer a midwife when they have a low-risk pregnancy and want to minimize medical intervention.
Do Obstetricians Treat Any Conditions?
Obstetricians focus on monitoring the well-being of the mother and baby, but they also check for complications that can impact the mother or child’s health. Some conditions an obstetrician can treat, include:
One complication of pregnancy is preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a severe high blood pressure problem that typically begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If preeclampsia is left untreated, it can lead to serious complications for the mother and child.
An ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. An ectopic pregnancy can’t proceed as a normal pregnancy. With this type of pregnancy, the fertilized egg can’t survive and the growing tissue could lead to life-threatening bleeding without medical intervention.
Some women experience placenta issues during pregnancy that need to be monitored. One potential issue is placenta abruption where the placenta partly or completely separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery.
Even if a woman didn’t have diabetes before pregnancy, they can develop something called gestational diabetes when they become pregnant. Gestational diabetes occurs when the body is unable to make enough insulin during pregnancy.
What Type of Surgeries Do Obstetricians Perform?
Obstetricians can perform various surgeries related to pregnancy, including:
Dilation and Curettage
One surgical procedure is a dilation and curettage. It involves dilation of the cervix and curettage of the uterus. A dilation and curettage are performed after a miscarriage or the removal of cysts and tumors.
Cesarean delivery is used to deliver a baby through surgical methods. An incision is made in the abdomen and the uterus to remove the baby from the womb.
A cervical cerclage procedure keeps the cervix closed during pregnancy. A cervical cerclage is typically performed on women with a weak cervix to prevent premature birth.
Obstetric care is an essential part of a healthy pregnancy and delivery. For women pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon, it’s best to find a trusted obstetrician who can support you throughout your pregnancy journey.