Your first appointment with an obstetrician-gynecologist should be scheduled around your 18th birthday, or after you begin sexual activity. Your OB GYN will be able to help you make sexually safe decisions, and can prescribe you birth control pills. It is very important to be open about your sex life with your OB GYN, so that he or she can best advise you on safe sex practices. If you are about to start having sex, your OB GYN can help you with something as simple as choosing the right kind of condom, to investigating oral contraceptives. They will also perform a vaginal exam, breast exam, and STD test. After you turn 21, your OB GYN will begin performing a pap test at every annual appointment.
You should never hesitate to make an appointment with your obstetrician gynecologist if you believe something is wrong or you have a sexual concern. Any abnormal discharge, bump, itching or burning sensation could be the sign of a serious issue and should not be ignored. This is why it is so important to form a comfortable relationship with your OB GYN, you must feel safe talking openly and honestly about potentially embarrassing personal issues and all of your sexual experiences. If you have an unprotected sexual experience and are worried you may have contracted an STD, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist immediately. Your OB GYN can test you for STDs, HIV and HPV.
If you believe you may be pregnant, or have taken a home pregnancy test and tested positive, you should make an appointment with your OB GYN as soon as possible. While home pregnancy tests are helpful, the best way to be certain about your pregnancy is by undergoing a full examination by your OB GYN and having an ultrasound taken. It is important to carefully monitor both you and your baby’s health during every stage of pregnancy, and your OB GYN can help you every step of the way. You will need to start making frequent visits with your obstetrician-gynecologist throughout the term of your pregnancy, which is why it is a good idea to already have a close relationship with a doctor that you began seeing for your annual exams.