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A Teen’s First GYN Appointment: What to Expect

By Christine Sarkinen, MD

As an ObGyn doctor in practice for many years, I frequently field questions from moms and teens about whether or not to see an ObGyn provider. Among other things, I usually tell them that it is an individual choice and then offer some perspective on what to consider. Here’s what I tell them:

Teenagers 16 years or older may want to consider seeing a women’s health specialist who understands the needs of young woman. At Oakdale ObGyn, our team includes doctors, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners. 

By choosing to see a women’s health specialist, teens gain the confidence they need to talk about health and wellness concerns with someone who understands the unique needs of girls and women. It’s also a chance to start developing a relationship with a provider who you may see well into child-bearing years and beyond. 

What Happens at a First GYN Appointment?

First appointments are usually about 30 minutes and offer a chance for a teen and her women’s health specialist to get acquainted. There will be some personal questions about general health, period history, and sexual health. Most first appointments include:

  • A general exam, which is similar to a sports or school exam (height, weight, blood pressure, and listen to breathing);
  • Education about her body, and talk about what is normal and what’s not;
  • PAP smears are not performed at this exam unless you are over the age of 21.

We might also talk about:

  • Periods, cramps, and any other problems she may be experiencing
  • Acne
  • Weight
  • Birth control
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Human papilloma virus and the vaccine 
  • Alcohol, drugs, and smoking
  • Emotional ups and downs, or depression
  • Domestic violence by a family member or significant other

After the first GYN exam, she will see her women’s health specialist once a year for medical history updates and a general exam.

Common Questions

Why see a GYN for well-woman care?
GYN doctors, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners specialize in women’s health care and in women’s bodies. As a resource, they offer anatomy and sexuality education, provide routine screenings and pelvic exams, and answer questions about a woman’s body.

Are you having any problems with your period or have female health-related questions?
Problems or gynecological concerns may be out of the scope of your family medicine or pediatrician’s practice and her or she may refer you to a GYN specialist.

Are you sexually active?
Ideally, you should have your first visit with a women’s health care provider BEFORE you have sex, but certainly once you become sexually active. GYN doctors and nurse midwives are pros at sexuality education and in offering birth control options that are right for you.

What about my privacy?
GYN doctors and nurse midwives provide one-to-one care in the exam room and whatever is discussed remains confidential. In fact, this is Minnesota state law. Your health care decisions are also completely confidential.

Appointments: 763-587-7000 or book online.