Obstetrician – literally “midwife” in Latin. A physician specializing in the diagnosis and management of pregnancy and delivering babies.

Gynecologist – a physician specializing in diseases of the female reproductive system and surgery of this area. Most physicians currently specialize in combined practice of OB/GYN.

Episiotomy – a surgical procedure cutting into the perineal area, the area between the vagina and anus in order to prevent tearing of tissues when the baby’s head traverses the vaginal opening.

Hysterosalpingogram – special X-rays of the uterus and uterine tubes involving passing an opaque dye backwards up through the uterus to determine if the tubes are patent. Since the tubes are open into the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity, if patent, dye should spill out of the end of the tubes and be manifest on the X-ray.

Colposcopy – using a magnifying instrument to inspect the interior of the vagina and cervix, the entrance to the uterus.

Dilation and curettage (D & C) – dilating the cervix, the entrance into the uterus, and passing instruments that enable scraping off superficial layers of the endometrium. May be done as an early therapeutic abortion, or following a normal pregnancy to remove residual tissue remaining in the uterus, or may be done as a diagnostic procedure to examine lining tissue of the uterus.

Mammoplasty – Surgical reconstruction of the breast may involve breast enlargement or reduction or cosmetic reconstruction after mastectomy. What are the risk factors of developing breast cancer?  Check out this women’s health link for answers.

Pudendal block – An anesthetic administered to block sensation around the lower vagina and perineum. This facilitates performing an episiotomy (see above) allowing passage of the baby’s head while avoiding uncontrolled tearing of tissues. By the way, pudendal, an ancient name for external genitalia, means “that which we should be ashamed of” in Latin. Even Adam and Eve wore fig leaves!

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