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15 to 25

At your age you may or may not have ever been to see an OB/GYN before. Here are a few tips and details about what you can expect at your first visit as well as throughout your young adult years and even pregnancies.

What is an OB/GYN

OB/GYN is a specialization that stands for Obstetrician/Gynecologist. An obstetrician is a medical doctor and surgeon who specializes in pregnancy, childbirth, and reproductive health. OB’s are who you go to when you are thinking about getting pregnant, trying to become pregnant, currently expecting a baby, or about to deliver your baby. Gynecologists, like obstetricians, specialize in women’s reproductive health. GYN’s however, work with women who are not pregnant. They specialize in everything from periods, to bladder health, to menopause and libidos. Most OB’s are also GYN’s, as the specialties go hand in hand. Not all of them perform surgeries however. Sometimes women will see their regular family physician for basic obstetric and gynecologic care, but just as they are specialized in family practice, OB/GYN’s are specialized in this field.

What to expect

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends that young women have their first visit with an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB/GYN) between the ages of 13 and 15. That first visit will most likely be more of a consultation to talk about your feminine health as well as answer any questions that you may have. Sometimes it will include an exam depending on the circumstances that brought you in. Most women don’t need to start having regular pelvic exams until they either turn 21 or become sexually active, whichever comes first. If you are sexually active it is recommended that you have a pap smear every two years to help safeguard yourself against cervical cancer.

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