Obstetrics and gynaecology (or obstetrics and gynecology; often abbreviated to OB/GYN, OBG, O&G or Obs & Gynae) are the two surgical–medical specialties dealing with the female reproductive organs in their pregnant and non-pregnant state, respectively, and as such are often combined to form a single medical specialty and postgraduate training programme.
This combined training prepares the practicing OB/GYN to be adept at the surgical management of the entire scope of clinical pathology involving female reproductive organs, and to provide care for both pregnant and non-pregnant patients. In veterinary medicine, theriogenology is the more commonly used term that also includes andrology.
Examples of subspecialty training available to physicians in the US are:
Maternal-fetal medicine – an obstetrical subspecialty, sometimes referred to as perinatology, that focuses on the medical and surgical management of high-risk pregnancies and surgery on the fetus with the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality.
Reproductive endocrinology and infertility – a subspecialty that focuses on the biological causes and interventional treatment of infertility Gynaecological oncology – a gynaecologic subspecialty focusing on the medical and surgical treatment of women with cancers of the reproductive organs
Female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery – a gynaecologic subspecialty focusing on the diagnosis and surgical treatment of women with urinary incontinence and prolapse of the pelvic organs. Sometimes referred to by laypersons as “Female urology”
Advanced laparoscopic surgery
Family planning – a gynaecologic subspecialty offering training in contraception and pregnancy termination (abortion)
Paediatric and adolescent gynaecology
Menopausal and geriatric gynaecology
Of these, only the first four are truly recognized sub-specialties by the Accredited Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG). The other subspecialties are recognized as informal concentrations of practice. To be recognized as a board-certified subspecialist by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology or the American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a practitioner must have completed an ACGME or AOA-accredited residency and obtained a Certificate of Added Qualifications (CAQ) which requires an additional standardized examination.
Additionally, physicians of other specialties may become trained in Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO), a short certification that equips them to better manage emergent OB/GYN situations.