An obstetrician-gynecologist, or OB-GYN, is a healthcare professional that specializes in the health and care of the female reproductive system following successful completion of the OB-GYN Shelf Exam.
People that undergo training to become OB-GYNs specialize in both obstetrics and gynecology.
Obstetrics involves working with pregnant women, which includes delivering babies.
At the same time, gynecology involves the female reproductive system, treating a wide range of conditions, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexually transmitted diseases and chronic pains.
OB-GYN Shelf Exam: What is OB-GYN?
OB-GYN is an acronym for obstetrics and gynecology. An OB-GYN is a doctor who has broad and specific training in obstetrics and gynecology.
OB-GYNs provide a wide range of preventive care services, including pap smears, STI testing, pelvic exams, ultrasounds, and blood work.
They can answer a person’s questions about pregnancy, sex, reproductive health, infertility, and numerous other topics which either a patient can ask or any individual.
Though recommendations vary with age and change over time, many women see their OB-GYNs at least once a year or twice, depending on the conditions.
OB-GYN Shelf Exam: What procedures do they perform?
OB-GYNs are trained surgeons who can perform a comprehensive set of procedures, which includes:
- Cesarean sections
- Instrumental deliveries during childbirth
- Removing growths, such as ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids
- Surgery to repair pelvic organ injuries.
Their activities don’t just stop there.OB-GYNs can also perform a wide range of routine and in-office procedures, which includes the following:
- 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 counselling
- 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
OB-GYNs can also address general health needs, such as screening for mental health issues, filling prescriptions for common ailments, performing blood work for common diseases, and referring people to specialist doctors.
OB-GYN Shelf Exam: Areas of speciality of an OB-GYN Doctor
OB-GYNs can choose from a comprehensive set of specialities. Some opt to specialize only in obstetrics and care just for pregnant women.
Others only offer gynecological care and do not deliver babies all through their service year.
Some OB-GYNs choose to focus on a specific aspect of the field, which may warrant the obstetrician might specialize in vaginal births after cesarean delivery (VBAC).
Some may also treat women using a holistic approach or osteopathic perspective. This care often prioritizes natural or traditional remedies.
OB-GYNs may also specialize in an area that requires additional training, expertise, workmanship and accreditation, such as:
Maternal-fetal medicine specialists:
Maternal-fetal medicine specialists are majors in treating high-risk pregnancies.
They specialize in the health of the mother and the baby and may also oversee complicated or high-risk deliveries, like the vaginal delivery of a baby in the breech position.
Reproductive endocrinologists are majorly infertility specialists.
They diagnose infertility problems and develop treatment remedies and plans. Many offer
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures.
Oncologist is the medical term for a doctor specializing in cancer treatment; this treatment is specifically for the reproductive organs.
Gynecological oncologists treat cancer of the reproductive organs, such as ovarian cysts and cervical cancer.
Female pelvic specialists:
Female pelvic medicine specialists and reconstructive surgeons focus on injuries and disorders of the pelvic floor and related structures in the female reproductive system.
They may treat incontinence, provide pelvic floor physical therapy, or perform surgery to repair prolapsed pelvic organs or damaged tissue.
OB-GYN Shelf Exam: How to become an OB-GYN Doctor
After graduating from high school and college, a person takes the following steps to become an OB-GYN doctor:
Graduate from medical school:
The first two years of medical school focus on general medical education, including human anatomy and physiology.
In comparison, medical students spend much of their time in clinics or hospitals as apprentices for doctors in the final two years. This could also be called workmanship.
After medical school, the individual may practice medicine under a more senior doctor; this process is called residency.
During a residency, a doctor chooses their specialty in the wide medical field.
An OB-GYN residency typically lasts four years and gives a doctor the chance to observe and perform a wide set of procedures.
After completing a residency, a doctor can take specialty board examinations. OB-GYNs must take and pass a day-long oral test before specialists and consultants.
After a further two years, they must also take an oral exam during which six different doctors randomly ask them questions in connection with their field.
OB-GYNs who pursue additional board certifications may need to take other board examinations to obtain such certification.
How to study for the OB-GYN Shelf Exam
- Expect a 50/50 split between obstetrics and gynecology questions in the examination.
- Familiarize yourself with what’s typical for OB-GYN: question stems can be tricky and might likely lead you to believe something is off even when everything is normal.
- Dedicate extra studying time to Obstetrics since it isn’t generally introduced to students until their clinical years.
- Gynecology, however, might already feel familiar due to its basis on pathology hence the need to dedicate more time to studying.
- Study High Yield topics like cervical, breast, and ovarian cancer; contraception; pregnancy; urinary incontinence and STDs as questions will come from there.
- Master differential diagnoses of OB-GYN pathologies since they can seem quite similar or familiar.
Format for the OB-GYN Shelf Exam:
The OB-GYN Shelf exam is formatted as an online test consisting of 110 questions that must be answered in 165 minutes (2 hours, 45 mins).
It shares the same interface as the USMLE Step exams, with each question presented as a hypothetical clinical scenario.
The exam is graded on a national average, though whether or not you pass your entire clerkship will depend on your individual medical school’s requirements to either pass or fail.
More specifically, the number of correct answers you get places you in a percentile, which is then measured across all national grades.
Following successful completion of the OB-GYN Shelf Exam, an obstetrician-gynecologist, or OB-GYN, is a healthcare professional who specializes in the health and care of the female reproductive system.
Most importantly, in your study for the OB-GYN Shelf Exam ensure you are not cramming the days and weeks leading up to the exam.
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