All Grown Up: When To Take Your Daughter to the Gynecologist
Time flies all too quickly when you’re a mother. It seems like one moment you’re teaching your daughter to tie her shoes and the next minute you’re buying her a bra. Before you’ve blinked good, she turned into a young woman. And young women have young women’s health issues. At some point it’s time to say goodbye to the pediatrician and hello to the gynecologist. But when is the right time?
For many of us, the idea of taking our preteen or teenage daughter to the gynecologist is scary. We’re forced to face the fact that they are women, and not just our sweet babies. And at the same time, we don’t want to traumatize them with an experience that’s too grown up for them. You know it’s time to take your daughter for her first adult doctor’s visit when you see these signs:
- She has a woman’s body. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) advises young women to have their first visit with an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) between the ages of 13 and 15 or when they become sexually active, whichever comes first. Although the early teen years may seem too young to see a gynecologist, remember that the first visit doesn’t have to include a pelvic exam. It can be an excellent time for your daughter to get information about her changing body and talk to the doctor about what to expect during her annual exams.
- She has specific gynecological issues. Is your daughter still waiting to get her first period even though she’s in the teen years? Does she suffer from reoccurring yeast infections? Does she have unusually painful periods? All of these can be signs of health issues and that she needs to see an expert.
- She becomes sexually active. Even if you daughter doesn’t confide in you about sex, most mothers have a clue when their daughters begin to engage in sexual activity. Whether you agree with her sexual behavior or not, you have to deal with the issue head on. Taking her to the gynecologist can help her prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
- She’s about to be on her own. Before you daughter heads off to college or to live on her own it’s important that she has her first gynecological visit. You’ll want to help her make the transition from seeing a pediatrician to seeing a gynecologist. nd you’ll want to help her establish the habit of seeing a doctor annually for exams.
Taking your daughter to the gynecologist for the first time can be daunting for both of you. But you can rest assured in knowing that you are helping your baby girl take care of her health.
For information to share with your daughter on what she can expect during her first visit check out these resources:
What age do you plan to take your daughter to the gynecologist?
Words: Yolanda Darville
Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women. Learn more about her on her blog www.bahamamommyinc.com.