As a kid, your mom might have brought you along for her check-ups when she was pregnant with your younger sibling. As a teen, you might have or might not have visited the same doctor, especially when you got your first period. As an adult, you likely haven’t seen that doctor again because you wouldn’t be reading this article intently if you had. Your mother’s obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) played a huge role in your mother’s health and should play a role in yours too, especially now that you are an adult.
Before you frantically look for an OB-GYN in Provo to set an appointment with, it is first important to understand why you need to see one.
What is an obstetrician-gynecologist?
An obstetrician is a health professional who cares for pregnant women and also delivers a baby. A gynecologist, on the other hand, is someone who specializes in taking care of women’s reproductive health. An OB-GYN does both. OB-GYNs are licensed health professionals who took up four years in medical school and an additional four years to specialize in the field of gynecology.
When should visits be made?
Ideally, the first visit should be made between 13 and 15 years of age, upon the first menstruation, and when a woman becomes sexually active. An OB-GYN will discuss what things to expect during puberty, periods, and how to handle them. Watching out for abnormalities and common sickness will also be discussed.
As a woman gets older, visits to the OB-GYN will be more regular. Regular tests to identify abnormalities in periods and the female reproductive system are carried out. Getting a pap smear —ideally between the age of 21 and 30 — should be done. Discussing birth control methods may also start at an early age.
When a woman is pregnant or is actively trying to be, then it warrants regular visits to the OB-GYN. There are gynecologists who specialize in infertility to help couples get pregnant naturally or with the help of modern medicine.
How do you choose one?
This is crucial, as a personal and comfortable relationship with your doctor is something you should have. After all, stripping down and exposing your most private parts to a stranger is not an easy task.
Choosing one is mostly done through referrals and references. A doctor your friend went to before who was described as friendly and caring will give you more peace of mind compared to choosing one you just randomly found. Knowing whether or not your chosen doctor accepts insurance is also important.
Another important thing to consider is the gender of your OB-GYN. Most women are more comfortable seeing female doctors, while others do not mind having male doctors. This is a matter of preference and is respected in the professional field.
Do you have an OB-GYN you can comfortably go to? If not, then it is time to choose one. Make sure you select one you are comfortable with. This makes visits a lot less stressful and awkward, especially if it is your first time.