I’ve just completed my obstetrics and gynecology rotation. It wasn’t at all what I expected. I enjoy women’s health, but I was surprised at how much I missed the wide variety of diagnoses you see in Family Practice. My days consisted mostly of pelvic exams, or measuring fundal heights and listening to fetal heart sounds with the doppler. At the same time, however, there were also a few unexpected “other” moments.
During the rotation, I spent most of the day performing “check-up” exams. For example: In a woman’s yearly visit she comes in for a pap/pelvic exam and breast exam. You walk through her health maintenance items (like does she need a colonoscopy or mammogram or a refill on her birth control) and then, assuming she is healthy, you send her on her way to follow-up in a year. This is similar with an OB check-up, assuming the mom and baby are healthy and without complications the visit is mostly just checking items off a sheet. For example, have they registered with the hospital? Does baby have a pediatrician for after the delivery? Breastfeeding or formula? Then you monitor labs at every visit along with fundal heights and use the Doppler to measure fetal heart tones.
I did get to see some procedures and deliveries, and they were very exciting. I imagine that is the big pull to the specialty. For example, my first c-section was a STAT/emergency c-section. From the time the patient was wheeled into the OR to the time the baby being born was approximately 8 minutes. Compared to other surgeries this is crazy fast. The fathers are allowed in the room and we are all gowned up and wearing facial masks. I remember making eye contact with the dad when the baby was delivered and we both had smiles in our eyes. It was pretty amazing. The poor mom could only see pictures of her baby until her belly got sewn back together, which took about 25 minutes (and yes, she was awake!).
It seemed like for all moms those last few weeks before their due date was almost unbearable. They were so eager to meet their new baby. Impatience was a big part of what I think I felt on the rotation too. Just like the new moms, I wanted to skip past all the routine and checklists to the interesting and non-routine. I love routine, but it helps to know there is a box for “other” moments at the end.
Here’s another one of those “other” things I learned on my rotation:
- Crisco, olive oil and/or coconut oil are not just for the kitchen…they can help with vaginal dryness that accompanies menopause. Yep… you read right. I don’t think that is in any medical textbooks, but many patients said it worked.