My First Exam
Part of growing up is learning to take care of your body. This means making good choices for your health, avoiding things that can hurt you, and seeing a health care provider—including an obstetrician–gynecologist (ob–gyn)—for routine health care. We understand seeing an OB/GYN can be intimidating or uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be! Below, you’ll find exactly what you can expect from your first OB/GYN appointment.
What to Expect
As women, we have special health care needs. OB/GYN’s are doctors who specialize in women’s health. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, it is recommended girls have their first OB/GYN appointment between the ages of 13 and 15, with a yearly wellness visit after that. You may have specific things you want to bring up with your doctor during your first appointment such as period issues, birth control options and testing for sexually transmitted infections.
Your doctor may ask a lot of questions about you and your family. Some of them may seem personal, such as questions about your menstrual period or sexual activities (including vaginal, oral, or anal sex). Your doctor needs to ask these questions to best know how to care for you. Giving honest answers to these questions is key to your care. If you are concerned about confidentiality, you and your doctor should talk about it before you answer any questions. Much of the information you share can be kept confidential.
Many young women share the same health concerns. Most of these concerns are a normal part of growing up:
Cramps and problems with menstrual periods
Sex and sexuality
Alcohol, drugs, and smoking
Emotional ups and downs
Talking with your doctor about these issues is a key step to staying healthy.
You may have certain exams at the first visit. If you choose, a nurse or family member may join you for any part of the exam. Most often, these exams are performed:
General physical exam*
External genital exam**
You usually do not need to have a pelvic exam at the first visit unless you are having problems, such as abnormal bleeding or pain. If you are sexually active, you may have tests for certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Most of the tests that teens need can be done by the doctor with a urine sample. You also may have certain vaccinations.
*General Physical Exam
During the general exam, your height, weight, and blood pressure will be checked. You also will be examined for any health problems you may have.
**External Genital Exam
In this exam, the doctor looks at the vulva. He or she may give you a mirror so that you can look at the vulva as well. This exam is a good way to learn about your body and the names for each part.