Watching your little girl blossom into a woman is bittersweet — as her childhood fades, her womanhood emerges, and now is the time to have those conversations about her changing body.
Dr. James Lee and our women’s health team at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care are here to support you as you teach your daughter about her reproductive health.
Like most moms, you’re probably wondering when to schedule her first pelvic exam, so take a moment as we explain when and why to begin regular pelvic checkups.
When to schedule your daughter’s first pelvic exam
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends scheduling your daughter’s first pelvic exam when she’s 13-15 years old, and we agree.
You can take her to your gynecologist or come to Woodstock Family Care. We provide quality women’s health care to women and girls throughout Woodstock, Georgia, and we do all we can to make your daughter’s first visit comfortable and discreet.
It’s normal for teens to feel nervous about a pelvic exam, and much of the anxiety stems from the unknown, so here’s what she can expect.
What happens during my daughter’s first pelvic exam?
We always start your daughter’s appointment with an honest discussion about her body and her habits. Dr. Lee asks her whether she’s sexually active, how her periods are going, whether she has noticed any vaginal discharge, and if she has experienced pelvic pain or bleeding.
Although these questions may be embarrassing, assure your daughter that Dr. Lee is a professional and talks with women about these issues daily. There is no judgment here.
Encourage her to be honest and open with Dr. Lee. Establishing a trusting relationship with her doctor is essential in her ongoing health care. And remember, another Woodstock Family Practice nurse is always in the room during the exam.
Dr. Lee explains each step of the pelvic exam, but it’s a good idea to go over it with your daughter before the appointment begins so she’s prepared.
In a private room, your daughter changes into a provided gown, then lies on the exam table with a paper drape covering her thighs and pelvis. A female nurse knocks before entering and comes in to offer assistance if needed. She remains in the room throughout the exam.
When Dr. Lee comes in, he helps your daughter place her heels in two stirrups at the end of the table and asks her to scoot down to the edge. This may feel immodest, as it exposes her genitals, but assure her that it’s safe, painless, and necessary.
The exam begins with an external check. Using gloved hands, he gently examines her exterior genitals, checking her vulvar skin for sores, lumps, and signs of infection or disease.
Next comes the internal pelvic exam. With one hand on your daughter’s abdomen, Dr. Lee gently inserts a gloved finger into the vagina to feel for abnormalities. While this may feel foreign and uncomfortable, it’s not painful.
He tells your daughter about every move he makes, so nothing will catch her off guard. The internal pelvic exam allows Dr. Lee to determine the size and position of the uterus and ovaries. He may also use a slender tool called a speculum to widen her cervix and enable screening tests, such as a Pap smear or STI test, if necessary.
Since the first Pap smear usually takes place around age 21, your teen daughter likely won’t need this test for a few years.
We welcome questions
Our team loves to talk with patients about their bodies and how to keep them healthy. Encourage your daughter to ask questions during her first pelvic exam. It’s a great time to confide in a professional about topics that aren’t easy to discuss with parents and guardians.
We can teach your daughter about proper hygiene, menstrual issues, contraception, and preventing sexually transmitted infections.
When your daughter hits her 13th birthday, call us to schedule her first pelvic exam and begin her lifelong journey toward reproductive health. Contact us at 770-927-7857 or book online.