Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Carrie Lee Smith
Gynecology is a surgical medical specialty that grew out of the practices of obstetrics and midwifery in the mid-19th century. Practitioners usually also practice obstetrics—hence, the specialty is more commonly referred to as “obstetrics and gynecology” and practitioners are more commonly referred to as “obstetrician-gynecologists” (ob-gyns). Although some scholars have defined gynecology as the study of women in terms of their functions and diseases, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) defines gynecology as care related to pregnancy and women's reproductive organs. In addition, ACOG defines ob-gyns responsibilities to include providing general care to women. It is difficult to make a clear distinction between obstetrics and gynecology because both deal with similar concerns in women's health. However, only obstetricians provide medical care dealing with pregnancy and delivery. Although all obstetricians provide gynecological care, gynecologists do not necessarily provide obstetrical care. ACOG further identifies four subspecialty areas within obstetrics and ...