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Obstetrics and gynaecology (also spelled as obstetrics and gynecology; abbreviated as Obs and Gynae, O&G, OB-GYN and OB/GYN[a]) is the medical specialty that encompasses the two subspecialties of obstetrics (covering pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period) and gynaecology (covering the health of the female reproductive systemvagina, uterus, ovaries, and breasts). The specialization is an important part of care for women's health.

Postgraduate training programs for both fields are usually combined, preparing the practising obstetrician-gynecologist to be adept both at the care of female reproductive organs' health and at the management of pregnancy, although many doctors go on to develop subspecialty interests in one field or the other.


United States

Leopold's maneuvers

According to the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG), which is responsible for issuing OB-GYN certifications in the United States, the first step to OB-GYN certification is completing medical school to receive an MD or DO degree.[2] From there doctors must complete a four-year OB-GYN residency program approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).[2][3] For the 2021 Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS) match, there were 277 OB-GYN residency programs accepting applicants.[4]

In their fourth year of residency, with an affidavit from their director to confirm program completion, OB-GYN residents can choose whether to begin the board certification process by applying to take the ABOG Qualifying Exam, which is a written test.[5] If residents pass the Qualifying Exam, demonstrating they possess the knowledge and skills to potentially become certified OB-GYNs, they are then eligible to sit for the oral Certification Exam.[5] Prior to the Certification Exam, residents must also gather a list of patient cases they've worked on throughout their residency in order to demonstrate their competence and experience in OB-GYN patient care.[2]

Residents then sit for the three-hour oral exam at ABOG's test center, and if they pass the exam they become "board certified" OB-GYNs.[3] Since 2013 at least 82% of all Certifying Exam examinees have passed.[6]

This adds up to 11–14 years of education and practical experience. The first 7–9 years are general medical training.

Experienced OB-GYN professionals can seek certifications in sub-specialty areas, including maternal and fetal medicine. See Fellowship (medicine).

United Kingdom

All doctors must first complete medical school and obtain a MBBS or equivalent certification.[7] This portion typically takes five years. Following this, they are eligible for provisional registration with the General Medical Council. They then must complete a two years of foundation training.[7][8] After the first year of training is complete, trainees are eligible for full registration with the General Medical Council.[7] After the foundation training is complete applicants take the Part 1 MRCOG examination[9] administered by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. There are an additional seven years of training after this, and two more exams (Part 2 and Part 3 MRCOG exams) which adds up to nine years total minimum in training, although some trainees may take longer.[10]


Examples of subspecialty training available to physicians in the US are:

Of these, only the first four are truly recognized sub-specialties by the Accreditation Council for 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.[11][12]

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.

Common procedures

There are many procedures that can be provided to people by OB/GYNs. Some procedures may include:[13]

See also


  1. ^ "OB-GYN" (or "OB/GYN") is most commonly treated as an initialism and pronounced as five individual letters, even though it only represents two different words.[1]


  1. ^ "Ob-gyn". Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c "Overview for Specialty Certification". American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  3. ^ a b "Education, Training, and Certification for OBGYN". The University of Illinois College of Medicine. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  4. ^ "ERAS 2021 Participating Specialties & Programs". Electronic Residency Application Service. 2021-01-11. Archived from the original on 2021-01-11. Retrieved 2021-12-09.
  5. ^ a b "Speciality Certification Requirements". American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  6. ^ "Specialty Certifying Exam Pass Rates". American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Retrieved 2021-12-08.
  7. ^ a b c "Entry requirements, skills and interest (obstetrics and gynaecology)". Health Careers. 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  8. ^ "UK Foundation Programme". Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  9. ^ "Part 1 MRCOG exam". Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  10. ^ "Training and development (obstetrics and gynaecology)". Health Careers. 2015-05-27. Retrieved 2019-04-11.
  11. ^ Welcome to the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology Web Site: Certification of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  12. ^ "Eligibility/Board Eligibility". American Osteopathic Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2012. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Common GYN Procedures | Obstetrics & Gynecology | Springfield Clinic". Retrieved 2019-03-13.