When Should I First Bring My Daughter to the OBGYN?

Disclosure :: This post is sponsored and was written by Dr. Rachel Gilbert, a local mom, doctor, and the newest member of the Schwartzenburg, Lafranca, Guidry, Chapman, Magee, Bourgeois medical practice.

When Should I First Bring My Daughter to the OBGYN?

Navigating womanhood involves regular visits to the ob-gyn, from pap smears to mammograms. But when should your daughter start these visits? It’s actually recommended for girls to have their first ob-gyn appointment between ages 13 to 15. This initial visit allows her to understand her body better and learn about maintaining good health practices. The visit can be proactive or due to a specific concern. Let’s explore some common reasons for girls to visit the ob-gyn before turning 21.

Top reasons for your daughter to begin seeing an ob-gyn provider:

1. Irregular, heavy, or painful periods: While irregular periods are common during the early years of puberty, excessive bleeding can lead to discomfort and stress. Painful periods are also prevalent, with some girls experiencing severe cramps that disrupt daily life. An ob-gyn can help determine what’s normal and recommend strategies to manage periods effectively.

2. Delayed menstruation: Most girls start menstruating around 12-13 years old. If your daughter hasn’t had her first period by 15, an ob-gyn can assess potential underlying issues.

3. Puberty challenges: Puberty comes with hormonal shifts, mood changes, and physical transformations that can impact self-esteem. Acne and unwanted facial hair might also emerge. Ob-gyn providers can offer guidance to help your daughter navigate this phase.

4. Sexual activity or serious relationships: Discussions about sexual health empower your daughter to make informed decisions. An ob-gyn visit enables doctors to address risky teenage behaviors, offer STD prevention counseling, and discuss contraception options.

5. Immunizations: Protecting your daughter’s future health matters. The Gardasil vaccine, recommended for ages 11-12 to 26 (possibly up to 46), guards against high-risk HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer. Regardless of her current sexual activity or future plans, this vaccine offers lifelong protection.

Remember, your daughter’s ob-gyn visits are about ensuring her well-being and empowering her to make healthy choices.

Additionally, I’d like to address common concerns that mothers of teenage and pre-teen girls often have.

1. Should my daughter visit the ob-gyn even if she is not currently sexually active nor plans to be in the near future? Absolutely. As previously mentioned, this visit offers your daughter valuable insights about her body, period, personal hygiene, and puberty. Additionally, it addresses risky behaviors like nicotine, drug, and alcohol use. The ob-gyn can also foster positive habits for her mental and physical well-being.

2. Will discussing STD prevention and contraception make my daughter more likely to have sex? No. Conversations about prevention don’t increase the likelihood of teens engaging in sexual activity. Rather, these discussions equip them with information to make informed and safe decisions if they do become sexually active.

3. Will my daughter have to undergo an internal pelvic exam if she is not 21 years old? No. Adolescent visits typically involve a general exam that doesn’t require undressing. Pelvic exams are individualized and recommended only if there are specific vaginal or pelvic concerns.

4. Should I be present for my daughter’s first ob-gyn visit? It’s a complex matter. While it’s natural for mothers to accompany their daughters, adolescents should have private discussions with healthcare professionals. After the initial meeting, I suggest stepping out briefly to allow your daughter to ask potentially sensitive questions in a safe space. Doctors may also request your absence for a short time, which shouldn’t be taken personally.

5. Will birth control cause long-term issues with my daughter’s reproductive health? No. Birth control doesn’t adversely affect future fertility. In fact, it offers various benefits, such as reducing the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer, regulating periods, and addressing acne/unwanted hair growth, in addition to preventing pregnancy.

Would you like to learn more and / or schedule a visit to see Dr. Gilbert? Call (225) 928-5951

About the Author:

Dr. Gilbert is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana State University Baton Rouge OB/GYNfor her undergraduate education where she earned a dual degree in psychology and biology. She was awarded her medical degree at William Carey College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Gilbert completed her four-year residency training at Louisiana State University Health Science Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at Woman’s Hospital. She served as Chief Resident from 2022-2023. Dr. Gilbert enjoys all aspects of obstetrics and gynecology, and has a particular interest in minimally invasive and robotic gynecologic surgery. She is passionate about providing evidenced-based education and patient-centered care for women of all ages. She strives to provide each patient with a unique birthing experience tailored to meet their needs. She looks forward to building life-long relationships with her patients and is thrilled to serve in the area in which she grew up in. Her hobbies include traveling, trying new foods, reading romance fiction, LSU football, and spending time outdoors with her daughter and husband.


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