As an OB/GYN, we see a lot of things and we hear a lot questions, questions that you may even be thinking about yourself. In case you’re wondering before your own appointment, there are some questions we hear more than others:

When should I first see a gynecologist?

Typically, it is suggested to make an appointment when you first start getting your period, but most girls do not do this. However, if you are sexually active or if you are thinking about having sexual intercourse for the first time, it is a good idea to visit your doctor first to make sure you’re healthy and that you understand birth control and STI prevention.

When should I get a pap smear?

Most women get their first pap smear when they’re 21, and then every 3 to 5 years after that. Your doctor may suggest getting a pap smear at a younger age if you are sexually active.

Can I get a pelvic exam if I’m on my period?

Try to schedule your exam so that you are not on your period when you visit. But, we all know sometimes these things happen. If you’re on one of your lighter days, your doctor can probably still conduct an exam. Do not be afraid to call ahead and ask if you get your period before your appointment.

Do I need to “groom” for my appointment?

There’s no need to shave, wax, trim, etc. for your appointment. Pelvic hair will not prevent your doctor from conducting a pelvic exam.

When should I get a mammogram?

Women should get a mammogram by the time they are 40. However, your doctor may recommend getting a mammogram sooner if you have a family history of breast cancer.

What should I do if I forgot to take my birth control for one day?

Always refer to the instructions for your medication, but it is usually fine to continue your birth control as you would normally if you’ve forgotten to take a single dose.

Does my vagina look normal?

Vaginas come in all shapes and sizes, and a study published in 2018 showed that there is no such thing as a “normal” looking vagina. Unless you’ve noticed recent unusual changes to way your vagina looks, there’s no need to be concerned.

How long is my period supposed to last?

A typical period may last anywhere from 3-7 days. If your period lasts longer than 7 days, that could be a sign that something isn’t quite right.

Am I too old to have babies?

Even if you’re still getting your monthly period, there are higher risks for women over 35 who are pregnant. As you get older, your chances of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and miscarriage increase. If you are older than 35 and are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, it is a great idea to discuss pregnancy with your doctor in order to minimize risks.

Can I have sex when I’m pregnant?

Yes! Only in special circumstances, like high-risk pregnancy, should you avoid intercourse.

Feel free to contact the experts at Cool Springs OB/GYN with any other questions and to schedule your next visit!