Obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYN) are physicians who possess special knowledge, skills and professional capability in the medical and surgical care of the female reproductive system and associated disorders, such that it distinguishes them from other physicians and enables them to serve as consultants to other physicians and as primary physicians for women. Over the years of practice, each obstetrician-gynecologist builds upon this broad base of knowledge and skills and may develop a unique type of practice and changing professional focus. Such diversity contributes to high-quality health care for women.
Resident education in obstetrics-gynecology must include four years of accredited, clinically-oriented graduate medical education, which must be focused on reproductive health care and ambulatory primary health care for women, including health maintenance, disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, consultation, and referral.
There are also subspecialties in obstetrics and gynecology, which require additional training: maternal-fetal medicine specialists are obstetricians/gynecologists who are prepared to care for, and to consult on, patients with high-risk pregnancies; and reproductive endocrinologists are capable of managing complex problems related to reproductive endocrinology and infertility, including aspects of assisted reproduction, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).