Skip to main content
Select Source:

obstetrics

obstetrics (ŏbstĕ´trĬks), branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of women during pregnancy, labor, childbirth (see birth), and the time after childbirth. Obstetricians work to ensure that pregnancy culminates in the delivery of a healthy baby, without impairing the health of the mother. The mother's medical history and health status are initially evaluated. Physical examination discloses the mother's uterine size and estimates the length of her pregnancy. If the obstetrician detects abnormalities, prenatal testing may need to be done on the fetus. An important modern development has been ultrasonography, which allows the obstetrician to non-invasively diagnose intra-uterine conditions. Delivery of the baby is helped by the use of a Friedman's chart, which shows the patterns of cervical dilation. The care of women during childbirth was originally in the hands of women (see midwifery), but in the 16th cent. physicians grew interested in the field. Of special importance were the invention of the delivery forceps by Peter Chamberlen in the 17th cent. and the introduction of anesthesia in the 19th cent. The adoption of antiseptic methods according to the theories of Joseph Lister and Ignaz Semmelweis reduced the incidence of infection in childbirth and made possible successful cesarean section. Obstetrics is often combined with gynecology as a medical specialty.

See J. Bonnar, ed. Recent Advances in Obstetrics and Gynecology (1992).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"obstetrics." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"obstetrics." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/obstetrics

"obstetrics." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/obstetrics

obstetrics

obstetrics (ŏb-stet-riks) n. the branch of medical science concerned with the care of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the period of about six weeks following the birth. Compare gynaecology.
obstetric adj. —obstetrician (ob-stit-rish-ăn) n.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"obstetrics." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"obstetrics." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/obstetrics

"obstetrics." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/obstetrics

obstetrics

ob·stet·rics / əbˈstetriks; äb-/ • pl. n. [usu. treated as sing.] the branch of medicine and surgery concerned with childbirth and the care of women giving birth.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"obstetrics." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"obstetrics." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/obstetrics

"obstetrics." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/obstetrics

obstetrics

obstetrics Branch of medicine that deals with pregnancy, childbirth and the care of women following delivery.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"obstetrics." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"obstetrics." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 20, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/obstetrics

"obstetrics." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/obstetrics