Pregnant? What You Need to Know About Your Pregnancy

Pregnant? What You Need to Know About Your Pregnancy

OBGYN Versus Primary Care Physicians For Routine Care

by Joann Dunn

People typically have to choose a doctor as their main provider for insurance purposes. Sometimes women opt to use an OBGYN for these services rather than a primary care physician. Other women choose to use a primary care physician as their main medical provider and use this physician even for services often provided by an OBGYN. There are pros and cons to using each type of doctor as your personal physician.


It's important to have an annual OBGYN exam, which typically includes a routine breast exam, weight and blood pressure checks, information on birth control options, and answers to any questions related to exercise, nutrition, sexual activity, or other areas of female health. It may also include a pap smear, STD testing, or information on menopause. An OBGYN has extra training in areas of female health and thus is typically more qualified than a primary care practitioner to handle some of these issues. As women are often already visiting the OBGYN for either their yearly OBGYN exam or for prenatal care, some feel it makes sense to have the OBGYN as their personal physician and have them handle the other aspects of their yearly physical and medical care as well. OBGYNs have been trained in other areas besides gynecology, so they can provide a larger range of services. The main drawback is that these doctors are considered specialists, so copays are higher than those commonly found with a primary care physician. OBGYNs may be more likely to refer problems outside of their main expertise to other specialists as well, which may lead to further fees.

Primary Care Physicians

Although primary care physicians can't handle some of the highly specialized care that OBGYNs provide, such as monitoring high-risk pregnancies and providing the care required during these pregnancies, hysterectomies, tubal ligation, and other more complex issues, they can provide basic gynecological care as part of their services. They can handle birth control questions and IUD insertions, yeast infections, urinary tract infections, diagnosis and treatment of STDs, pap smears, and prenatal care in uncomplicated pregnancies. They have more experience in treating any non-gynecological issues you may have and may be as much as 2.5 times more likely to discuss non-gynecological issues during a preventative visit than an OBGYN. If your main health issues are not gynecological in nature, you're probably better off using a primary care physician as your main doctor.

Rather than choosing one or the other, it's often recommended that women see both of these types of professionals at least once a year. The OBGYN can provide specialized gynecological care and is more knowledgeable in this area than the primary care physician, so it's good to have an ongoing relationship and have a yearly gynecological exam at a clinic like Florham Park OB/GYN Dr. Donald Chervenak MD. The primary care physician is likely to be more thorough and cover more areas of health in a yearly physical and will be better able to handle other types of health problems that come up during the year.


About Me

Pregnant? What You Need to Know About Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I spent a lot of time pushing pillows behind my back trying to find comfort. As the size of the baby grew, so did my discomfort. By the time she was born, I was more than ready to give birth. When I found out I was pregnant again, I was determined that I would not suffer through the same discomforts. I started researching ways to ease the symptoms of pregnancy, including back pain. I created this blog to help other expectant moms find remedies to deal with those symptoms that can be emotionally and physically draining.