Your daughter’s body changes vastly over the span of a few years, so it’s no surprise that her first OB/GYN appointment can seem a little daunting at first. Puberty can seem embarrassing for a lot of adolescents, so the idea of a doctor or midwife examining and talking about their sexual and vaginal health may be uncomfortable or intimidating. As a mother, you can help ease discomfort and empower your daughter to take charge of her health. By following the steps we’re listed to prepare your daughter for her first OB/GYN appointment, you can help her feel calm and confident.
Schedule at the Right Time
According to the American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics, girls should have their first OB/GYN appointment in their teen years. Most girls will not need a pelvic exam during this visit though. While this is the general time frame, we know that every woman’s body is different, so we’re happy to help you with any concerns that you or your daughter may have regardless of age. Certain indications of an earlier appointment may include menstrual irregularities, contraception, or questions about sexual activity. We can discuss the right time to initiate routine gynecological care for your daughter, though PAP smear testing typically will not begin until the age of 21.
While pelvic exams aren’t typically administered at the first OB/GYN appointment, they may become necessary if the patient is sexually active, wants STI testing, or is experiencing abnormal bleeding or painful periods. Pelvic exams generally consist of three main parts: an external genital exam, a vaginal exam, and a cervical exam. While your daughter likely will not have the pelvic exam at her appointment, knowing about them early on will prepare her for this exam when the time comes. It is a standard practice to administer a general physical exam to check in on height, weight, and blood pressure at the start of each OB/GYN appointment. In addition to the general physical exam, your daughter may also have a breast exam. This exam can help girls to self-examine their own breasts and to identify any changes.
If you and your daughter have never discussed family medical history, now is a good time to start that conversation. Genetics play a huge role in a variety of disorders and diseases, so by disclosing your medical history you can help teach your daughter about the importance of prevention and early detection. Discuss any applicable conditions of immediate family members, relatives, and the time frame associated with those conditions. It’s also important for your daughter to be prepared to talk about her menstrual cycle. Her provider will likely ask about the date of her last period, the length of her cycles, and will inquire about any problems. If your daughter knows to think about those questions before the appointment, she can give more accurate answers and avoid feeling overwhelmed when asked these questions on the spot.
Make Her Feel Comfortable
In addition to standard communication about medical history, encourage your daughter to ask questions and empower her to feel good about her body. At this time in her life it’s easy to feel unsure and self conscious, so by building her up and normalizing visits to the OB/GYN office, you can promote an overall feeling of comfortability. Remind her that the doctors and midwives are professionals that are never going to judge the way she looks, and that it’s best to speak up about any concerns to get the best results out of her appointment. Visits to the OB/GYN office are a healthy, normal part of life, so the earlier she knows this and feels comfortable, the more likely she is to take charge of her health for the rest of her life.
Talk To An OB/GYN Provider
The team at Triangle Physicians for Women is here for you in all stages of your life and are committed to providing you with comprehensive care. Whether you’re a new patient or a regular with us we strive to offer the highest quality of care. To make an appointment, call the office at (919) 678-6900 or contact us online.