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Which specialist to choose?

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Hey! I am pregnant, whom should I reach out to, Gynec or OB/GYN? I am a New Mother and I have no clue how to feed the baby! Whom should I reach out to? I have pain in my pelvic muscles and leaking urine, whom should I approach? I feel so blue… who can help me with this???


So many questions right? Sometimes even I wonder why are there so many specialists and so many categories, why can’t just one Doctor attend to all the issues or a manual that can be referred, to understand which specialist needs to be contacted and when.


And these questions lead to putting up this article and we are covering the specialists you might need from pregnancy to your child’s birth. You can save this article or share it with anyone who would find it helpful.


Basics

So, the basic learning is that, given the amount of population around the world and given the number of ailments people are facing, one human cannot specialize in everything! The departments and categories are created to make it easier for the people and the specialists to diagnose the ailment better and provide the necessary treatment.


Yes, it is difficult to remember all the categories but do not worry! Here is a list to make you aware of whom to approach when. When you know which specialist has to be approached, finding a doctor in your location might be a bit easier. Let’s get started…


Gynecologist

A gynecologist specializes in female reproductive health. They diagnose and treat issues related to the female reproductive tract that includes the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, and breasts. Gynecology is the field of medicine concerned with women's health, especially their reproductive health.


You might have to visit a Gynecologist even if you are not pregnant, and here is a list of conditions for which you might need a visit to a Gynecologist -

  • Issues relating to pregnancy, fertility, menstruation, and menopause.

  • Family planning, including contraception, sterilization, and pregnancy termination.

  • Problems with tissues that support the pelvic organs, including ligaments and muscles.

  • Pap smear tests, STIs, Polycystic ovary syndrome, Urinary, and fecal incontinence.

  • Benign conditions of the reproductive tract, for example, ovarian cysts, fibroids, breast disorders, vulvar and vaginal ulcers, and other non-cancerous changes.

  • Premalignant conditions, such as endometrial hyperplasia, and cervical dysplasia

  • Cancers of the reproductive tract and the breasts, and pregnancy-related tumors

  • Congenital abnormalities of the female reproductive tract

  • Emergency care relating to gynecology

  • Endometriosis, a chronic condition that affects the reproductive system

  • Pelvic inflammatory diseases, including abscesses

  • Sexuality, including health issues relating to same-sex and bisexual relationships, and Sexual dysfunction.


Obstetrician-gynecologists (OB/GYN)

Obstetrics or Obstetrician, a physician who specializes in the surgical care of women and their children during pregnancy, childbirth, puerperium, and post-natal care. All Obstetricians are Gynecologists but not all Gynecologists are Obstetricians.


So, your regular checkup that includes the above points can be done with a Gynecologist. Your pregnancy and child birth related has to be treated by an OB/GYN. They are the ones who will be able to perform the delivery of your child.


Psychologists

A psychologist is someone who studies the mind and behavior. There are different types of Psychologists like Applied Psychologists, Research Psychologists, and Mental Health Psychologists.


Mental Health Psychologists are the ones who work with people experiencing mental disorders or psychological distress. They often work in hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, government offices, or private practices. They can help you cope up with specific conditions, like depression or anxiety, or those who are going through a tough time in life, like grieving the loss of a loved one or any other emotional distress.


Psychologists cannot write prescriptions or perform medical procedures. The key difference between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist lies in their medical authority. You can approach a psychologist initially and based on the progress or requirement, a Psychiatrist can be suggested or considered.


So, if your postpartum blues are not fading away, then you can approach a Psychologist initially, and then based on the severity or emergency, a Psychiatrist can be consulted. Sometimes, Psychologists and Psychiatrists work together to assess the situation for better treatment.


Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists practice as medical doctors and use their clinical experience to treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders using medication and psychotherapy. The field of psychiatry rests on the idea that biological factors, like genetics, environmental factors, lead to the development of mental and emotional health symptoms.


Psychiatrists are best consulted when a person is undergoing severe cases of mental illness. This is evident through extreme fluctuations in mood, behavior, and an unusual pattern of disruptions in daily living due to mental health issues. The psychiatrist will be able to diagnose the issue and provide the best medications to help control their mental state.


Postnatal Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists help people recover from injuries sustained from surgery, illness, aging, or disability. They guide people to improve their strength and movement and prevent further problems in the future.


In this case, the postnatal physiotherapist will work with you to help you recover from childbirth. They can teach you and guide you through simple stretches, pelvic floor exercises, and kegel required to strengthen your core and pelvic muscles.


Lactation Consultant

A lactation consultant is a healthcare professional who specializes in caring for breastfeeding moms. Lactation consultants are breastfeeding advocates who can help from before your baby is born until the final weeks of weaning.


They can guide you through your nursing journey and support you through the breastfeeding phase smoothly by helping you overcome any problems you encounter during breastfeeding. It is recommended to consult a Lactation Consultant before you start your breastfeeding journey, ideally during the last trimester of pregnancy or after your child’s birth.


Pre & Postnatal Yoga Expert

Yoga during pregnancy can help you immensely for your overall well-being. It can help you maintain inner peace, can help you rejuvenate your inner health, and bring balance to your energies.


Hence, it is important to learn yoga from a trained teacher rather than following videos online. During pregnancy and after childbirth, it is recommended to practice yoga from a trained pre and postnatal yoga practitioner, and in-person classes work best to understand your condition better and also to correct your practices in an efficient manner.


Pre & postnatal yoga can consist of meditation, stretches, core strengthening asanas, and rejuvenation packages during your postpartum period.


Physician

A physician’s primary duties include providing preventive treatment, evaluating clients, diagnosing their issues, and coming up with a treatment plan. They also educate patients on medical conditions and preventative care when possible. Primary physicians focus on all areas of practice, however, some physicians specialize in different areas such as heart, skin, digestive systems, bone, and allergies (and many other medical areas).


So, if you need a general check-up when you are not pregnant or in your postpartum period, you can consult a physician.


Dietician / Nutritionist

Dietitians and nutritionists are experts in food and diet and help people maintain good health and prevent or treat health conditions. They provide a diet plan tailored according to an individual.


The word dietitians typically refer to registered dietitians (RDs). Compared with nutritionists, the main difference is that RDs tend to have more education and credentials. Depending on the state in which you practice, you can call yourself a nutritionist without any formal nutrition education, training, licensing, or certification, but it’s illegal to call yourself a dietitian without proper credentialing.


A significant difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian is that the dietitian can help diagnose and treat illnesses. RDs can be involved with diagnosing and treating medical conditions, which is known as medical nutrition therapy.


If you wish to follow a specific diet and would need guidance with the same, you can approach a Nutritionist to get a meal plan for you during your pregnancy and the postpartum period. In case of any underlying medical condition, you can approach a Dietician.


Dermatologist

The skin is an incredible organ. It is your first line of defense against disease, protects your other organs, warms you up and cools you down, and sends messages about how healthy you are inside.


A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in treating the skin, hair, and nails. Dermatologists care for people of all ages, from newborns to seniors. If you find anything new on your skin, hair, nails, you know whom to approach. They will be able to guide you in the right way as the skin speaks to you if your body is fighting against something inside.


Conclusion

Hope you find this list useful. This list is created to specifically refer to during pregnancy and the postpartum period. But, it can also be referred even otherwise. It can be pretty confusing to consult a specialist during this time, this list should give you a basic idea and make your planning slightly less stressful.


Happy Motherhood!


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