As a teenage girl, attending your first gynecological appointment can be extremely intimidating and awkward. You can make this experience easier for your daughter by helping to prepare her both physically and mentally for the appointment. While there will still likely be a bit of nervousness prior to arriving at the appointment, there are definitive things that you can do to make this as pleasant as possible. Here are five ways that you can make this process easier for your daughter.
Meet with the Provider Beforehand
It is important that the medical provider understand that this is your daughter’s first time visiting the gynecologist. They will be able to calm her fears right at the start of the appointment if they are aware that this is her first examination of this sort. When looking for an OB-GYN in Richmond VA or your particular locale, be sure to ask questions about what the doctor and nurses will do to put your daughter at ease for the first appointment. Any reputable medical care provider will be happy to walk you through the steps before your first appointment. All of these steps will help to normalize the appointment for her and give her confidence that it is a normal and healthy part of a woman’s life.
Speak with Your Daughter About the Importance
Your daughter will be more likely to approach this appointment with a positive attitude if she understands why it is so important to take care of her gynecological health. Explain to her that this type of appointment is normal for all women and that it should not be stigmatized. She needs to understand that her overall health is related to her gynecological health. In addition to obstetrics, your daughter should learn about all of the services that her doctor will provide. Once she knows how regular gynecological check ups will guard her overall health, she will be more willing to be consistent about her appointments.
Prepare Her with the Medical History
If she is like most girls her age, your daughter may feel a bit of apprehension about answering questions regarding her own personal medical history. She also may feel uncertain about these questions if her parents have always been the ones answering the questions for her. Since she will likely be alone with the medical care provider without the guidance of her parents, you can help to make her feel more comfortable by making sure that she understands her own medical history. It is a good idea to bring along a copy of her immunization records to her first appointment. You should also tell her the doctor will likely ask about her sexual and menstrual history.
Explain What Will Happen
Before your daughter arrives at the doctor, she should have a clear idea about what to expect. Knowing exactly what will happen during the examination will help to calm her nerves. If your daughter is a visual learner, you may even consider using anatomical pictures to show her what to expect. She should also understand that only a small part of the appointment is the actual physical examination. Knowing that this part will only take up a small portion of her allotted time may make her feel better about what lies ahead.
Follow Up After the Appointment
After your daughter has finished the appointment, it is a good idea to follow up with her about how it went. Although you do not want to pry, she should know that you are available to answer any questions or provide further guidance. This conversation will help you to gauge her comfort level with the doctor so that you know if you need to find an alternative. It will also encourage her to share other concerns with you that may not be related to that specific doctor appointment. Keeping these lines of communication open will only serve to enhance your relationship.
As a parent, it is your job to help your daughter to take control of her own health. Helping her to navigate the ins and outs of her first OB-GYN appointment will empower her to be an advocate for herself and to ensure that she stays on top of all of her health issues.