So when is the right time for your daughter’s first gynecology visit? Generally, the sooner the better. Certainly all young women are different and as a mother you will have a good sense of whether you believe your daughter is ready or not. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that young women have their first gynecological visit between the ages of 13 and 15. This may seem like a young age to bring your daughter in for a visit, but know that most girls do not need a pelvic exam during their first visit unless there are abnormal symptoms present. Rather, this visit offers a phenomenal opportunity for your daughter to learn important information about her body.
Now, it’s absolutely normal for most young girls to feel embarrassed, nervous, or afraid, just thinking about a this prospect, however, most feel much more at east if they are able to meet the provider and establish a relationship before the need to undress or have a pelvic exam is even necessary.
Your provider is a wonderful resource, friend and ally in helping to articulate the changes young ladies can expect as they progress through adolescence. More importantly, your daughter will receive accurate information from a trusted professional, rather than at school, on the bus, or from friends. There is so much misinformation out there, but getting your daughter off on the right foot can have a lasting effect on her future health.
At Tri-County Health Care, we offer a safe and warm atmosphere with caring providers and the latest in healthcare information. In planning for your visit, talk ahead of time with your daughter and discuss whether she would like you in the room with her. Some will want you to join them in the exam room while others may choose to go solo. Either way, our providers will take the time to listen, ask questions, and if needed, inform them on a wide range of health topics from appropriate hygiene, menstrual cycles and pelvic pain, to sexually transmitted infections, birth control and pregnancy. Of course, everything discussed during this time is private and only between your daughter and her doctor.
If your daughter is between 13 and 15 years old or older, and hasn’t yet had her first gynecological visit, now is the time to bring her in. Certainly, all young women are different and you will have a good sense of whether your daughter is ready or not. But regardless of age, it’s good practice to make a preventative appointment now rather than waiting until something is wrong. Use this opportunity to help your daughter understand the importance of preventative care, all within a safe, comfortable environment.
About the Author: Shaneen Schmidt, MD, enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering, attending her children’s activities, planning and enjoying family vacations, reading science fiction, fishing and cheering on the Minnesota Twins. She and her husband Kent, reside in Wadena with their four children – twin daughters, Zoe and Kate, son, Michael, and daughter, Ryann.