My patients frequently ask me when they should start bringing their daughters in for their first OBGYN visit.

My answer is the earlier, the better.⁣⁣ Whether you are a mom with a daughter or a young woman doing her own research, chances are you will visit your OBGYN at least once in your lifetime. It’s important to know what to expect so that you can prepare for the questions that you should ask. Let’s explore the different things that will happen during your first OBGYN visit.

  • Officially, ACOG recommends the first GYN visit between the ages of 13-15⁣⁣
  • STI screening should start when a female is sexually active⁣⁣
  • Pap smear screening starts at age 21⁣⁣

What happens at the first OBGYN visit? 

Often just a conversation⁣⁣. The goal is to establish a relationship, build trust, review healthy and normal behaviors, dispel myths, address fears⁣⁣ and answer questions. 

What do we talk about?

⁣Your medical history⁣ and then so much more, as desired. ⁣⁣You may have questions about your body, your period, your sexuality and I can help facilitate those conversations. You may be experiencing things that you don’t know if they are normal or not. I will help with that.⁣⁣ Our first conversation will tailor to each individual and YOUR needs with an emphasis on comfort, confidence, and safety⁣⁣. Don’t underestimate the power of knowledge and preventative counseling⁣⁣.

A typical appointment

Your first OBGYN appointment typically begins with discussing general health topics like nutrition, exercise, lifestyle habits, and any current medical issues. You or your daughter may be anywhere from 13 to 15 years of age. At the appointment, we may also check your blood pressure and listen to your heart and lungs. We’ll talk about your menstrual history and sexual history (if applicable). Then, depending on your age, we may discuss contraception options.

Questions to ask your doctor

Be sure to come prepared with questions! We want to help you with anything you might be wondering about. Knowledge is power! You might want to discuss family planning options, birth control methods, STD prevention strategies, HPV testing recommendations, nutrition advice, painful or unusual symptoms or any other concerns you have related to reproductive health. Some questions you might want to ask are:

  • What does a normal period feel like?  
  • How to use tampons or a menstrual cup 
  • Sexual health questions 
  • What types of birth control options are available?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to improve my reproductive health?
  • Are there any tests I should have based on my age, sexual activity or health history?
  • How can I protect myself from STDs?
  • What risks or potential side effects are associated with any medication you may recommend?
  • How often should I come in for pelvic exams and other screenings?
  • Are there any resources available to help me manage my reproductive health?⁣⁣

Will a pelvic exam be needed?⁣⁣

No fear, most of the time, this is not needed⁣⁣. Most questions and concerns can be addressed with a thorough history and conversation⁣⁣. There are a few instances where I may do a brief breast exam or external exam of the genitalia. An internal or speculum exam is rarely needed, and if it is, we will discuss first⁣⁣. 

This first OBGYN visit will be confidential 

If an adolescent comes in with a parent, we will first have a conversation.⁣⁣ Then, I WILL ask the parent to leave to discuss in private⁣⁣. ALMOST everything I talk about with the patient will be confidential. SAFETY is a priority⁣⁣. 

Visiting an OB GYN is important to caring for yourself as a woman. Knowing what to expect and being prepared with questions can help make your first appointment go more smoothly. Be sure to discuss any concerns and ask plenty of questions to get the most out of your visit! By doing this, you will be able to feel more informed about reproductive health issues and confident in managing them moving forward. Good luck!⁣⁣⁣