Your Daughter’s First Gyn Visit

What the two of you can expect during an appointment

First Visit

Adolescence is a time of many firsts. For girls, those firsts should include a visit to a gynecologist.

Lauren Mason Cederberg, MD, a board-certified gynecologist at Community Medical Center (CMC), recommends making an appointment for your daughter when she’s between the ages of 13 and 15. That’s when some adolescents develop romantic or sexual relationships, she says. Also, many girls have their first period around that time.

During an appointment, you and your daughter will likely discuss any questions you and she have. Afterward, the doctor will typically request one-on-one time with her. This will give your child a chance to ask any sensitive questions privately.

The doctor will ask if she’s having any problems related to her period, such as acne flare-ups, pelvic pain, irregular cycles and severe mood changes. If she is having problems, the gynecologist may prescribe an oral contraceptive.

The doctor may also ask if your daughter’s period affects her breasts (they may feel fuller and tender at certain points in the menstrual cycle).

The gynecologist will also discuss sexual orientation and sexual health, safe sex and what healthy relationships look like. He or she may touch on issues such as bullying, drug use and drunk driving.

“I want my patients to feel that they can trust me,” says Dr. Cederberg.

Lauren Mason Cederberg, MD
Lauren Mason Cederberg, MD

When a Pelvic Exam Is Necessary

If your daughter is sexually active, the doctor will recommend a pelvic exam and walk her through it. He or she can also test your daughter for sexually transmitted diseases by drawing blood and/or taking cultures.

Afterward, the doctor will discuss birth control options, including emergency contraceptives.

Even if your daughter isn’t sexually active, the gynecologist may perform a pelvic exam if she has a complaint, such as pain with periods. He or she will also perform a breast exam and ask whether there’s a family history of breast cancer.

Girls who aren’t sexually active and don’t have a specific gynecologic problem may not need a pelvic examination. Instead, the doctor may simply check your daughter’s heart, lungs, vital signs and thyroid gland. He or she may also perform an abdominal exam.

You will likely be invited into the exam room for the final portion of the visit so the doctor can share any observations or instructions. During this time, she may ask for your consent to administer Gardasil to your daughter. This series of three injections protects against several strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause genital warts and several different cancers. You’ll need to follow up for the second and third shots in two and six months. That will give your daughter and her new doctor a good chance to build their relationship.

To make an appointment with an OB/GYN or other RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group physician, call (888) 724-7123 or visit www.rwjbh.org/doctors.