Perinatologist vs Obstetrician: What’s the Difference?

If you are expecting a wonderful new addition to your family, you probably have a lot of important questions that need to be answered, especially if you are dealing with high-risk pregnancy. One of the most important questions is whether you need to see an obstetrician or a perinatologist. What does each type of specialist do? What does a high-risk pregnancy entail? Here is an overview of what an obstetrician does and what a perinatologist does, as well as a perinatologist vs obstetrician care comparison for mothers who may or may not be facing a high-risk pregnancy.

Obstetrician Definition and Explanation

An obstetrician is a physician trained and licensed in the specialty known as obstetrics, which is the field of medicine dealing with pregnancy and childbirth. Many obstetricians also practice gynecology and are referred to as Ob-Gyns, and most are knowledgeable about women’s health matters. These doctors can help women with some mild complications that can arise during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure that is not a major concern, some forms of gestational diabetes, and even pre-term labor in certain cases. Many obstetricians are trained and comfortable with handling such matters, as they are known conditions that can occur during pregnancy. However, if your pregnancy has been labeled high risk, a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist may need to be consulted so your care can be co-managed by a team during the perinatal stages.

Perinatologist Definition and Explanation

A perinatologist is a MFM specialist. What does this specialization entail? An MFM specialist is an Ob-Gyn who has completed between two and three years of medical education beyond the requirements of other obstetricians to prepare them to consult with, educate, and treat patients who are dealing with high-risk pregnancies. Perinatal specialists like those at Valley Perinatal Services in Arizona handle and work with more severe complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, such as major pre-term labor issues, bleeding concerns, pre-existing conditions such as lupus and birth defects. They can even handle emergency situations related to childbirth and pregnancy. MFM specialists are typically ready to work with obstetricians, nurse practitioners, and other obstetric medical professionals with the end result of managing perinatal care for high-risk pregnant patients in the best possible way.

Perinatologist Care vs. Obstetrician Care

It is best to speak to your Ob-Gyn about perinatologist vs obstetrician care. A medical professional will be able to work with you to decipher what your obstetric needs are based on your medical history, your unborn baby’s health, and any other conditions that may cause your pregnancy to be labeled high risk. In many cases, perinatologists are able to help you with any concerns you may have surrounding a high-risk pregnancy and will be able to educate you on the steps you need to take in order to work toward the best possible outcome during and after labor.

It can be intimidating to figure out the differences involved in perinatologist vs obstetrician care, especially if you are not sure of what physician to turn to. Being pregnant can be an exciting yet overwhelming experience even when you do not have specialized health concerns to deal with. The information above and details provided by your obstetrician can help you know what plan to put in place to manage your pregnancy in the safest and healthiest way possible for you and your child.

Are you wondering if you need to see a perinatologist, or are you a mother-to-be whose pregnancy is considered to be high-risk? Speak to your Ob-Gyn about co-managing your care with our MLM specialists at Valley Perinatal Services. Contact us online or call (480) 756-6000.