This specialty deals with issues relating to conception, pregnancy and delivery. Problems relating to the newborn are the concern of the Pediatrician. The majority of pregnancies and deliveries proceed like clockwork without a single hitch, thanks to ingenious creative design. Were it not for this the human family would probably not have survived the good old days before the birth of modern medicine. But the inherent complexity of pregnancy and especially delivery can lead to problems ranging from the trivial to deadly. Indeed history is full of stories of women dying in childbirth. It is the onus of the Obstetrician to carefully follow pregnancy through to delivery, on the lookout for the first hint of trouble - excessive weight gain or failure to gain weight, swollen ankles, rising blood pressure, abnormal bleeding - to name a few. And when trouble can no longer be avoided a decision may have to be taken to proceed to Caesarean Section - delivery by surgery where the baby is removed by cutting into the uterus directly through the abdominal wall.
The Gynecologist deals with female genital issues not directly related to pregnancy. These include contraception, period problems, vaginal maladies (infections, discharges etc) as well as disorders like endometriosis which are often heralded by painful periods, excessive menstrual bleeding and the like. But even the healthy female with no problems needs a regular pap smear during her reproductive life and even afterwards. Doing these routine examinations is part of the job of the gynecologist. You can therefore see that, between deliveries, managing pregnancies and looking after women's general health, the Obstetrician-Gynecologist has a full time job on his/her hands.