Newswise — The first trip to the obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) can be scary for teens (and sometimes even for her parents).
To make the first visit easier for your daughter, follow these tips from Dr. Julie Jacobstein, a board-certified adolescent gynecologist with LifeBridge Health.
- Before you go, explain why regular OB/GYN visits are important. Not all doctor visits are just because you’re feeling sick. Going to the OB/GYN provides your daughter with a safe space to ask questions and learn about prevention. “Let your daughter know that the first visit if often just a way to establish a relationship with your OB/GYN,” says Jacobstein.
- Prepare her for the medical history conversation. Ensuring that your daughter understands why the doctor needs this information and knows what questions will be asked can often make the conversation more comfortable. Arriving with a vaccination history can also be helpful.
- Explain the parts of the physical exam, including the breast exam. Reassure your daughter that the physical exam part of the visit is usually over quickly! “Teens are often most concerned about the physical exam, however there are many parts to an OB/GYN visit, and the physical exam is often a minor part,” says Jacobstein. A pelvic exam is not always done on a first visit, either.
- Address any additional concerns your daughter may have before the visit. Explain to her that she shouldn’t feel embarrassed and that it is important for all women to have regular OB/GYN visits.
- After the visit, talk to her about how it went (as much as she’s comfortable with). If your daughter mentions that she felt uncomfortable with the doctor or nurse practitioner, consider finding a new one. By being open and discussing the experience with your daughter, you can help to make the first visit to an OB/GYN a more comfortable one.
It is recommended for teens to have their first visit with an OB/GYN before heading off to college. However, if there are any physical issues, a first visit should take place sooner.