Try these tips to prepare your daughter for her first OB/GYN visit
A teen’s first visit to the obstetrician-gynecologist may be an awkward and intimidating situation. Follow these four quick tips from Dr. Joseph Axelrod, an OB/GYN at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., to help your daughter feel as prepared and comfortable as possible.
- Talk to your teen about the importance of regular OB/GYN appointments.
Help your daughter understand that it’s as normal for women to visit a gynecologist regularly as it is to have a check-up with a primary care doctor. Before going to her appointment, let your daughter know that the first visit is all about getting to know her gynecologist and learning why regular appointments are important. Sharing this information beforehand will help ease stress during and right before her appointment. Also, chaperoned visits may help calm anxiety, but remember to check with the physician beforehand since visits accompanied by mom depend on the situation.
- Prepare her to answer questions about her medical history.
Your daughter may be apprehensive about answering questions during her appointment. It is important that you explain prior to her visit why the doctor’s knowledge of this information can be helpful to her health. In addition, it might be beneficial to bring along your daughter’s immunization records to the first appointment. Generally, STD screening and safe sex practice discussions are critical parts of the appointment.
- Calm your teen’s nerves about the physical examination.
If you can explain the parts of the physical exam, your daughter will have less worry if she knows what to expect. Initial visits typically only involve pelvic examinations if there are problems or if the patient has become sexually active. It’s also crucial to assure your daughter that although the physical exam is part of an OB/GYN appointment, it is only a small part. Much of the visit, especially the first time, will be informational instead of physical.
- After the appointment, check in with your daughter about how it went.
If your teen felt uncomfortable at all, consider finding a new doctor for her. Your daughter should understand that scheduling regular visits with an OB/GYN is a normal and healthy practice, even if some of her friends have not made that first step yet. Having clear and open conversations with your daughter about the health topics discussed or treated by her doctor can help her prepare for future positive appointments.
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