If your daughter is between the ages of 13 and 15, or has become active sexually, it’s time to schedule her first appointment with an obstetrician-gynecologist (OBGYN) for her initial adolescent gynecology visit. The mere idea of this first visit can be intimidating for a girl, but a parent or caregiver can do much to alleviate any of the nervousness, embarrassment or fear she might be experiencing.
It’s important to express that a visit to the OBGYN isn’t what she may have come to expect from other doctor’s appointments; explain to her that, rather than going to the doctor because something is wrong, the goal of adolescent gynecology is to visit regularly when there are no health concerns – to help prevent them and stay healthy.
Communication is essential. Talk to your daughter about whether she’s comfortable visiting the OBGYN you use, or if she’d feel better about having a doctor who only sees her. Ask whether she’s comfortable with a male doctor, or would prefer a female one. And find out what you can do to ensure her communication with the OBGYN is complete and truthful; she might be more at ease discussing important topics such as birth control during her visits without a parent present (or, just as commonly, she might feel more comfortable for the first few appointments if you were there for moral support).
Give your daughter all the information she’ll need for her appointment to run smoothly, so she can get the most out of it. Make certain she is able to make her OBGYN aware of any medical history information that might inform her treatments, and encourage her to ask any adolescent gynecology question about her body or her health she might have – no matter how “embarrassing” it might seem.