As a mom, you want to make sure you’re supporting your daughter as she moves from childhood to womanhood.
One of the best ways to do that is by encouraging her to choose a gynecologist and set up her first exam. It can often be a scary and confusing time for a teenage girl as her body and hormones are changing rapidly, so being there to offer support and encouragement along the way is extremely important and beneficial.
Here are three commonly asked questions and answers that mothers have concerning their daughters’ first well woman checkup:
1. What age should my daughter have her first exam?
We usually recommend that a girl’s first gynecology exam be between the ages of 13 and 15 years old, depending on when she starts her first menstrual cycle. Your daughter may feel like this is too soon, but explaining the reasons why it’s a good idea to see an OB/GYN now may help her understand the importance.
2. How do I explain why this visit is important?
There are three main points you can highlight as to why it’s important to start regular well woman checkups.
- Asking questions – OB/GYNs are a great resource for asking any and all questions related to a woman’s body. If your daughter has questions she is uncomfortable discussing with you about her cycles, birth control, sex, or her developing body, an OB/GYN can provide clear and concise answers.
- Monitoring health – Even if your daughter doesn’t have any abnormal cycles or symptoms now, it’s a good idea to have a women’s doctor monitoring her for signs of abnormal development or common issues like polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Preventing disease – An OB/GYN will teach your daughter how to perform regular breast exams to watch for signs of cancer, and also talk about sexually transmitted diseases.
3. Will the doctor do a pap smear or pelvic exam?
Probably not. Most girls do not need a pap smear or pelvic exam until they are at least 18, and maybe even 21 years old, unless they have abnormally heavy cycles, a lot of pain during their cycles, or other complications. The doctor will do a quick check of her genital area, but it is not the main focus of the visit.
The doctors at All About Women want both you and your daughter to feel comfortable during annual visits. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask any of our experienced gynecologists, nurses or midwives.