You’re always on time for dental cleanings and physicals for your kids, but do you know when your daughter should see a gynecologist for the first time? SSM Health certified nurse midwife Amber Latsch says most parents don’t.

“The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, or ACOG, recommends between ages 13 and 15,” says Latsch. “There are a lot of things in school, online, and social media that give really confusing messages to girls and adolescents about what’s normal for their body.”

This post is in partnership with SSM Health

What to expect

Appointments usually last 20-30 minutes. Young girls may be relieved to know there are no pelvic exams during the visit and pap smears aren’t scheduled until age 21. The first appointment is usually a chance for the patient to talk about any concerns she may have.

“It can be helpful for them to sit down with someone and start building a relationship with a person in a gynecology office who can be there for them as they navigate those changes,” Latsch said. “They can ask questions and learn what kinds of things are normal, as well as those that are not normal.”

Common questions that teens ask their gynecologists:

  • Are my periods normal?
  • What is typical cramping during my period?
  • Does my body look normal?
  • How can I get rid of my acne?
  • How does birth control work?

Latsch notes that a referral to see a gynecologist is not needed, and that some teens call and make the appointment themselves.

Reasons to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist

ACOG says it’s important to schedule your daughter to see a gynecologist if:

  • She has not gotten her period by age 15
  • Her periods are troublesome
  • She is sexually active

Learn more about women’s health services and the types of conditions often treated and make an appointment.

Watch Amber Latsch’s interview on the first gynecological visit on Madison, Wisconsin’s ABC affiliate.

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