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Overview

Gynaecologists and obstetricians are doctors who specialise in women’s health. Obstetricians specialise in pregnancy and childbirth. Gynaecologists deal with disorders and conditions of the female reproductive system. These include conditions such as acute pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), cancers of the female reproductive organs, and procedures such as sterilisation and abortion. A doctor will often specialise in both these areas.

To become a gynaecologist or obstetrician, a doctor must pass examinations that are set by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). They are then a member of the College and can put the letters MRCOG after their name. Your GP might have the letters DRCOG after their name; this means they have passed a diploma set by the College showing that they have a specialist interest in women’s health, but it is not a specialist qualification.

Gynaecologists and obstetricians usually work in specialist departments in hospitals, or in private clinics.

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Service Description

If you are pregnant, you may have an appointment with an obstetrician as part of your routine antenatal care. If you have problems during your pregnancy, such as bleeding, you may have a special, non-routine, appointment to see an obstetrician. Your GP or midwife will set up these appointments.

Other than during pregnancy, you will usually need to be referred by your GP if you need to see a gynaecologist or obstetrician. This means they have to write a letter recommending you for an appointment.

Your examination and any tests and treatments will depend on the condition that is suspected or diagnosed. If you have to have an intimate examination where you need to undress or be touched by the specialist, for example a smear test or breast examination, your permission will be asked. You will be given privacy while you undress and during the examination.

You can request to see a female specialist if you prefer, but depending on how many female specialists are in your local area, this may mean you have to travel further to the appointment, or wait longer for an appointment. You can also request to have a chaperone (an additional medical person such as a nurse, or a friend or family member) to stay with you during examinations.

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The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website nhs.uk
Last Updated: 01/04/2013 00:00:00