OB-GYN Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use This Word

Have you ever wondered what OB-GYN’s meaning is? Wonder no longer. Here’s a complete guide to OB-GYN complete with definitions, history, and more.

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If you’re female, you are probably familiar with the term OB/GYN. However, if you’re male, you may not know much about it. In any case, this word has an interesting history that is definitely worth knowing. It’s a story about how nicknames become the norm and how acronyms can help make taboo topics approachable. 

Today, we’re going to talk about the definition of OB-GYN and why it’s important. By the end of this article, you’ll be very familiar with the term and know exactly how to use it. 

What Does OB-GYN Mean?

The term OB-GYN is actually a mixture of two words. It refers to a doctor who practices obstetrics and gynecology. “OB” stands for obstetrics, and “GYN” stands for gynecology. By fusing the two words into this simple acronym, it makes the topic and the doctor’s title easier to pronounce, which allows for easier discussion. 

An OB-GYN is an incredibly important doctor that helps women maintain their sexual health. They perform checkups, prescribe medications like birth control, and help women with pregnancies. This area of medicine is just one of the subspecialties of medicine and of primary care.

They focus on the care of the female reproductive organs like the ovaries, cervix, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic organs. They might perform pelvic exams and other procedures to monitor female reproductive health. OB-GYN providers focus on female reproductive health and female pelvic medicine.

According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), OB-GYNs should focus on healthy living, healthy teens, healthy aging, and healthy pregnancies.

What Is the Origin of OB-GYN?

The study of obstetrics and gynecology has been around for quite some time, but the abbreviation for the subjects did not come about until long after. 

It wasn’t until about 1961 that the term OB-GYN was coined, but these areas of women’s healthcare have been around for centuries. It was also around this time that the scientific study into the female reproductive system and these medical specialties began to grow dramatically. 


The term obstetrics comes from Latin. The word means “to stand across from,” referring to the person who stands across from a woman giving birth, also known as the midwife. However, obstetrics has expanded significantly, and they specialize in far more than simply helping a woman during delivery. 

Now obstetrics focuses more broadly on maternal-fetal medicine. It incorporates prenatal care into the mix, helping to take care of women as their pregnancy progresses. Pregnant women require a lot of medical care, as there are a whole host of things that can go wrong during a pregnancy. During birth, if necessary, obstetricians can even perform cesarean sections.  

After the pregnancy is over, obstetricians are still involved. They may help a woman with urinary incontinence, postpartum depression or anxiety, and other medical conditions that happen after a pregnancy.

Obstetricians will also provide a great level of care to women with high-risk pregnancies. It’s a common situation that puts the life of the mother and child at risk, so it’s incredibly important that proper care is provided. 


The word gynecology gets its roots from the Greek, and it literally means “the study of woman.” While obstetrics focuses on pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period, gynecology focuses on reproductive health and diseases and functions that are exclusive to women. They focus broadly on uterine and cervical health, but by no means is their care limited to that.

Gynecologists may help a woman as she goes through menopause with HRT, help women regulate menstruation, perform pap smears, or help treat urinary tract infections, endometriosis, or sexually transmitted infections. They help women through infertility, and they also may perform a hysterectomy. They may even dabble in gynecological oncology by performing cancer screenings. 

One of the most common functions a gynecologist might perform is help women find the right contraception, also known as birth control. Birth control medications are quite common and can be a vital tool for maintaining a woman’s sexual health. They not only help women practice safe sex, but they can also make periods easier to handle and are an important tool in reproductive endocrinology. 

An OB-GYN is a doctor who specializes in both fields. This makes for a more all-encompassing approach. That way a woman can turn to only one doctor for all of the women’s health issues she may be facing. 

When to Use the Term OB-GYN

Generally, the term OB-GYN is used to refer to a obstetrician-gynecologist or someone studying the subjects of obstetrics and gynecology. Here are some examples of OB-GYN in a sentence:

I need to schedule an appointment with my OB-GYN to get an ultrasound.

My OB-GYN performed all of the usual screenings at my appointment today.

I have a passion for women’s health and women’s health issues, so I’m going to study OB-GYN.

In my four-year medical school, we took a specific course dedicated to the OB-GYN branch of medicine. 

You can use the word OB-GYN whenever you’re referring to an obstetrician-gynecologist or the subject that they study. Using this word is far easier than the medical jargon actually used to describe them. By making use of this abbreviation, your writing and your conversations about the subject will be much easier and more comfortable. 


Although there is not a direct synonym to OB-GYN, there are some terms that are used interchangeably with the term. The words below don’t share the same definition, but people often use them to refer to OB-GYNs:

  • Gynecologist 
  • Obstetrician 


OB-GYN is an incredibly important word. It breaks down a complex medical subject into an acronym. There is somewhat of a taboo around the subject of women’s health, but this term has allowed some of those taboo walls to be broken down, allowing for more open discussion and an increase in knowledge in the general population. 

So now you know how to use the word OB-GYN. Go forth and keep spreading important knowledge and information, and use it accurately in your writing and speaking. Don’t forget to come back to this article if you need a refresher!


  1. Obnoxious Observations | Florida State University 
  2. What Is OB-GYN? The Difference Between Obstetricians and Gynecologists | Ross University School of Medicine
  3. What Is an OB/GYN? A Look at the Doctors Specializing in Women’s Health | SGU