Meeting with OBGYN prior to first exam empowers young women in medical settings

May 14, 2018, Orlando Health

A teen girl's first visit to an OBGYN often comes with a lot of anxiety, and once they are in a gown on an exam table, they may be too uncomfortable to express their concerns and ask questions. In fact, a new national survey by Orlando Health found that nearly 40% of women were at least somewhat concerned about what would happen during their first OBGYN exam. That's why experts at Orlando Health are encouraging girls and their parents to speak with their OBGYN in a non-clinical setting before their first exam. Establishing an open dialogue with their physician helps them know what to expect, what is and is not appropriate during an exam, and anything else they may be worried about.

"This is about empowering young women to take control of their health and know that they have the power in the exam room," said Christine Greves, MD, an OBGYN at Orlando Health. "Giving them a safe space to talk about any of their fears and hesitations allows them to build confidence in their ability to speak up in a medical setting."

For many women, this initial conversation is an important first step that they might not know is available. Without this option to put first-time at ease, they might avoid their doctor's office altogether, missing regular appointments and putting their overall health at risk.

"Helping a woman establish an ongoing relationship with her doctor could make her more likely to get the recommended annual care and to ask about anything out of the ordinary that is happening with her ," said Greves. "These pre-exam meetings are something more young women should be asking for, and most OBGYN offices will be happy to make that appointment for them."

With recent cases in the news of young women being abused by physicians, the role of an OBGYN and proper patient education are more important than ever before. A conversation with a trusted OBGYN can provide answers to sensitive questions that patients need to know to feel comfortable and informed at any appointment.

"Many victims of sexual assault have said that they were afraid to say something during and after the abuse took place, and that needs to change," said Greves. "No woman should suffer in silence, and establishing a sense of control early on will hopefully eliminate a lot of that apprehension and help patients stay safe."

Savanna Harris remembers how nervous she was prior to her first OBGYN visit. She was 19, went to her appointment alone and didn't talk to anyone beforehand about what was involved with the exam.

"I had a lot of questions, but I guess I was too embarrassed to ask them, and by the time I was in the room it seemed too late for that," said Harris. "I was afraid it was going to be painful or that they were going to find something wrong with me. I also had no idea that I could have someone in the room with me, and I think having a friend or family member's support would have made me feel a lot better."

Savanna says she thinks a lot of young would benefit from speaking to their doctor beforehand so they know what to expect. Dr. Greves says she encourages pediatricians and to speak with teenage patients and their parents about this option when they are preparing to make their first OBGYN appointment.

Explore further: Q&A: Gynecologic exams not necessary for all adolescent girls

Related Stories

Q&A: Gynecologic exams not necessary for all adolescent girls

May 5, 2018
Dear Mayo Clinic: At what age should a teenage girl have her first Pap smear and gynecologic exam? Should this be done by a pediatrician or another provider?

How to prepare your teen for that first ob-gyn visit

May 30, 2017
(HealthDay)—A teen's first visit to an obstetrician-gynecologist can be intimidating, so one gynecologist offers moms some tips to help make the experience easier for daughters.

Specialist explains why age 13 to 15 is ideal for the first gynecologist visit

January 17, 2018
Most parents are well-versed in schedules for their kids. They know to schedule an annual physical—or else the school nurse will call, or their child can't join the soccer team. They know when their kids need to start dental ...

Inserting computers into heart and soul of medicine, the doctor-patient relationship

November 30, 2015
The latest technological innovation to affect the doctor-patient relationship is the examination room computer with its promise of supporting safer, more efficient and more effective patient care. But exam room computing ...

Making the most of childhood wellness visits

July 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Babies born today will have about a dozen wellness visits by the time they reach age 3. At that point, these checkups typically drop to just once a year, often before kids head back to school.

Researchers find bimanual exam doesn't accurately screen for ovarian cancer

April 2, 2015
The most commonly performed ovarian cancer screening test—the bimanual exam—is unlikely to benefit healthy women, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Georgia.

Recommended for you

Why mothers in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan choose cesarean delivery

October 16, 2018
Pregnant women in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are more likely to express preference for cesarean section (CS) as their mode of delivery later in pregnancy and postpartum, as compared to early in pregnancy, according ...

Importance of cell cycle and cellular senescence in the placenta discovered

October 15, 2018
Working with researchers from Stanford University and St. Anna Children's Cancer Research, researchers from Jürgen Pollheimer's laboratory at the Medical University of Vienna's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology have ...

C-section rates have nearly doubled since 2000: study

October 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—The number of women delivering babies via cesarean section has nearly doubled worldwide since 2000, to about 21 percent, new research shows.

Study of nearly 41,000 women who almost died giving birth shows who's most at risk

October 10, 2018
Tens of thousands of American women each year need emergency treatment to save their lives while they deliver their babies, or immediately after. A new study shows how much their risk of a life-threatening birth depends on ...

In childbirth, when to begin pushing does not affect C-section rates

October 9, 2018
More than 3 million women in the United States give birth each year. But obstetricians have differing opinions about when women should begin pushing during labor and whether the timing of pushing increases the likelihood ...

Why single embryo transfer during IVF sometimes results in twins or triplets

October 8, 2018
It has been known for some time that it is better to transfer a single embryo to a woman's womb during assisted reproduction treatment (ART) rather than several embryos in order to avoid a multiple pregnancy and the risks ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.