by Dr. Tina Ramsey

Have you ever wondered whether you should be making an appointment with an obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN), Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber (APNP) or a family care physician? These terms can be confusing and not all are credentialed the same, but not to worry, we will break it down for you.

An OBGYN must complete their undergraduate degree and four years of medical school followed by four years of residency. A midwife must first become a nurse and then complete a graduate program in midwifery. Both roles allow the provider to successfully and safely deliver a baby, in addition to pre-conceptual care and postpartum care. Typically, midwives do not provide care for high risk pregnancies. An APNP must complete their undergraduate degree followed by a master’s degree in nursing or a related health discipline, in addition to whatever requirements are set by their certification agency.

OBGYNs and family physicians, otherwise known as primary care physicians, are quite different. OBGYNs are trained to focus solely on women’s health issues. Primary care physicians are trained for more general illnesses and regular check-ups. For example, if a woman is experiencing pain in her pelvic area such as endometriosis, a primary care physician may be able to diagnose it because they are well-trained physicians, but they may recommend getting a second opinion from an OBGYN because it is their specialty. By going to a specialist, you know your provider has extensive experience working with your specific problem, and that can give you peace of mind during a potentially stressful time.

At Women’s Health Specialists, all of our physicians are board certified to provide exceptional care to the women of the Fox Valley. By having this certification, patients can rest assured knowing that their physician has graduated from a recognized medical school, completed an accredited residency program, has an unrestricted license to practice medicine, and has passed all necessary exams given by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

To schedule a visit with a board-certified Women’s Health Specialists provider, call (920) 749-4000 today.