Members of the Care Team
- - A CDE is a certified health professional, usually a nutritionist or dietitian, with advanced training in the prevention and management of diabetes. CDEs provide guidance and education to help patients self-manage diabetes and improve their health.
- - A midwife is registered nurse with a master’s degree who has received additional training in women’s reproductive health and childbirth. A certified nurse midwife has passed additional testing and is certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board. Midwives are uniquely positioned to provide clinical expertise, emotional support and health education for the patient and her family. Certified nurse midwives provide full scope midwifery care for both high-risk and routine pregnancies, and share the philosophies held by the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), including individualized patient-centered care.
- - A genetic counselor has specialized training in genetics and medical counseling, providing pregnant women with additional support by identifying genetic risk, discussing family history, explaining available testing options and implications of test results, as well as providing patient education – all in easy to understand terms.
- - An OB hospitalist is an obstetrician who has earned an undergraduate degree and completed four years each of medical school and residency training in the medical specialty of obstetrics and gynecology. OB hospitalists specialize in managing the needs of pregnant women who are hospitalized and act as an extension of a patient’s primary care provider.
- - An OB/GYN, or obstetrician-gynecologist, is a physician who has earned an undergraduate degree and completed four years each of medical school and residency training in the medical specialty of obstetrics and gynecology, specializing in women’s reproductive health and the management of pregnancy.
- - A registered nurse is a nurse who has completed a nursing program and has satisfied local licensing requirements.
- - A sonographer or ultrasound technician is a health care professional, certified by the American Registry for Medical Sonography, with advanced training in the use of ultrasound devices to obtain images, scans or videos for diagnostic purposes.
- - A women’s health nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with a master’s degree who has received advanced training in women’s health and reproductive and gynecological care.
- - Genetic counseling is support provided by a genetic professional to the patient and the doctor by identifying genetic risk, discussing family history, explaining available testing options and implications of test results, as well as providing patient education. Genetic counselors act as patient advocates translating medical and scientific knowledge into practical information. In addition, they are available to provide support and resources to anyone who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions or birth defects, such as cystic fibrosis or disorders common to particular race or ethnic groups. A genetic counselor provides this information in a non-directive, unbiased manner and allows the patient to make her own decisions regarding testing options.
- OB/GYN specialists are specially trained to diagnose and manage gynecological problems requiring surgical treatment. Common surgical procedures include:
- In-office Colposcopy and LEEP
- In-office endometrial biopsies
- Hysterectomies, including open, laparoscopic and robotic
- Removing noncancerous growths in the uterus
- Uterine ablations such as laparoscopy and hysteroscopy to control excessive menstrual bleeding
- Diagnostic procedures
- OB/GYN health care providers treat women throughout all phases of their life cycle, including teenagers having her first gynecological visit and mature woman experiencing menopause challenges. OB/GYN health care providers routinely handle gynecology issues including:
- Abnormal pap smears
- Painful menstrual cycles
- - High risk obstetric care and consults is an extra level of care available to women at risk of experiencing problems during or after their pregnancy. A variety of risk factors can make a pregnancy high-risk, including advanced maternal age, chronic health conditions, problems with a previous pregnancy and problems that develop during pregnancy. A high-risk pregnancy means the baby is at a higher risk of having health problems during pregnancy, birth or after delivery. Women having a high-risk pregnancy should be seen more frequently for close monitoring by a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, a physician specially trained to treat high-risk pregnancies.
- - Maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist and OB/GYN health care providers are available to coordinate in the management of women who became pregnant through assisted reproductive technology, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI). An MFM specialist is able to provide an extra level of care through additional monitoring and screening.
- - As a woman matures she will begin producing less estrogen, called perimenopause, and eventually produce none at all, called menopause. This process can start anytime during a woman’s 30’s or 40’s with the average age of menopause being 51. An OB/BYN specialist can offer treatment options to women experiencing uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes or sleep problems, and screen for additional health risks caused by the body’s lack of estrogen.
- - An obstetric ultrasound, often called a sonogram, is a diagnostic procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images of the fetus. A Doppler ultrasound is able to measure slight changes in sound wave frequency as they bounce off bones and tissue to generate black and white images of the fetus, while a 3-D ultrasound uses specially designed equipment and software to develop three-dimensional images of the fetus.
- - Routine obstetric care is recommended for pregnant women experiencing a normal pregnancy without any risk factors. The first appointment may include a complete physical exam, including a pap smear, routine prenatal lab work and an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy is viable and calculate a due date. Additional appointments are scheduled throughout the pregnancy, increasing in frequency as the due date approaches. During an obstetric appointment, an OB/GYN health care provider will perform routine screenings and tests to identify potential risk factors and recommend additional testing or preventative measures as needed. These visits also serve as an opportunity for patients to discuss any questions or concerns related to the pregnancy or upcoming labor and delivery experience.
When should a young woman receive her first gynecological exam?
It is recommended that girls see a gynecologist at age 15 for a consultation. The goal is to help the teen and the OB/GYN health care provider establish a relationship; pelvic exams are generally not done during this visit, unless there is a problem that requires an exam. The provider can generally address issues related to periods, sexuality, dating, alcohol and drugs. Pap smears should be done beginning at age 21 or three years after first sexual intercourse.
If there are any concerns regarding normal female development or abnormal periods, visits can begin sooner. Visits for those types of issues may require an internal or external pelvic exam, as well as other testing.