As a parent, one of your biggest responsibilities is teaching your child how to take care of their health. Although there is no specific age for when your child should see a gynecologist for the first time, a good rule of thumb is to take them when they are in their early teens and before they become sexually active. Once you have helped your daughter schedule her first exam, use these tips to help her prepare for the visit.
Provide Her With the Family History
During a first visit to an OB/GYN, it is common to be asked a series of questions about one's past medical history as well as family background. This helps the doctor determine which tests and screenings may be needed, and your child's doctor may also use the information to educate your daughter about her risk factors for certain diseases. Let your daughter know if there is a family history of health problems that may have genetic links such as breast cancer.
Talk About What Happens During the Exam
With the influence of technology, many teens have already heard about the different procedures that take place during a gynecological exam. However, your daughter should know that GYN services can range from a simple consultation about birth control to more complicated procedures such as ultrasounds to check for pelvic conditions. Provide your daughter with a basic overview of what happens during a routine well woman exam, and let her know that she can speak up at any time if something makes her uncomfortable. If your daughter seems apprehensive, then consider asking for a first exam that simply involves an opportunity for your daughter to meet the doctor and talk about any necessary screenings before they happen.
Your daughter should view her gynecologist as a partner who helps her stay healthy. Let her know that an OB/GYN does not judge behaviors that include sexual activity. Instead, your daughter's doctor needs to know the truth about whether or not she is sexually active so that they can make the best recommendations for her care. Helping your daughter develop trust in her doctor during these first few years can ensure that she gets the highest level of care possible as she matures.
Although many young girls feel nervous about their first well woman exam, you can arm your daughter with knowledge that makes her feel confident. Once you've prepped your daughter for her first visit, make sure to keep her reproductive health care an open topic so that she can continue to benefit from your guidance. For more information, talk to a group such as Lifecycles OB/GYN, PC.