By Isabella Aitken-Frappier
Whether it’s your first time or your 100th, going to the OB-GYN can be daunting for some. The cold metal instruments, the papery gown, having a light shined at your vulva – not too many people are excited by the prospect. Luckily, there are many things you can do to start rocking your regular visits to your OB-GYN.
Several years ago, during a routine Ob-gyn visit, I was shocked when my doctor told me that I had cysts covering my ovaries. She gave me almost no information as to why and what I could do, so I had to step up and take ownership over my reproductive system.
I devoted myself to becoming an ally to both my doctor and my body, so that we could become a team and work together. I didn’t want to be worked on, I wanted to be worked with.
I hope that I can help you feel the same way, and perhaps even start feeling a little excited to go to your next appointment (but I won’t hold my breath).
back to basics
One of the first steps you can take before your annual is to become more informed about your own body. Start by brushing up on some of the anatomy lessons that many of us tuned out during high school.
Are you familiar with your cervix location? Do you know the difference between your labia minora and majora? What about your urethra? Spend some time researching and learning general information about your sex organs, and then use a mirror to familiarize yourself with your specific anatomy.
While you’re at it, try check out 3D clitoris models, they are both beautiful and educational. Becoming confident with our anatomy can also help inform us when changes occur. It’s also important to perform regular self-exams of your breasts, vulva, vagina, and cervix.
You can keep a notebook or journal with you to keep track of your body and its beautiful changes and cycles. When you have an active observational relationship with your body, you may notice changes before a doctor might, and you can bring your notes or journal with you to your visit. Your doctor does not have the ability to observe your body with the level on consistency that you do.
writing your reproductive autobiography
Now that you are feeling more familiar with your body, and you have your observations and notes ready, write down a list of questions for your visit. This is also a great time to reach out to people in your family about their medical history.
Being informed about any struggles or conditions they have had, such as ectopic pregnancies, PCOS, breast cancer, or endometriosis, can be really helpful information for your doctor. It’s also a great idea to note the date of your last period, as well as any new medications or supplements you’ve started taking.
If you observe your temperatures to track your fertility, bring in the last three months of charts, to help you doctor be aware of how long each of your phases are usually lasting. This can also help identify a variety of other potential concerns.
gynecological game day
Once you feel ready, and you have found a medical provider who you feel comfortable with, it’s time to schedule your appointment. If you already have an OB-GYN, but you don’t feel that confidant in them, there is no bad time to switch providers.
It’s important that you feel your doctor is the right fit for you. There is no need to ever lie to your doctor, but if they don’t help you feel comfortable enough to be honest, it might be time to switch. If you see a nose wrinkle after you reveal your number of sexual partners, get your cute butt out of there.
Try and schedule your appointment for the middle of your cycle, but otherwise, there is no need to prepare your body in any special way for your appointment. Just have a shower and put on some comfortable clothes that are easy to get in and out of. You don’t need to shave your legs or vulva if you don’t feel like it. Seriously, your doctor couldn’t care less about that.
be a team player
Don’t just lay back and hope your visit turns out well, be an active teammate. Be informed about which test and procedures your OB-GYN may perform during the visit, and ask them how often they would like you to do these moving forward.
Yearly visits are usually appropriate for most people, but it does vary. Asking what type of method is best for you to communicate with them after the visit is very important.
If you need to have a pap smear or pelvic exam, your doctor will likely use a speculum. During this time, you can request to view your cervix with the use of a mirror that your doctor should provide. It can be incredibly fascinating and empowering to see your own cervix firsthand.
If you still have anxious thoughts come up during your visit, just remember to breathe. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing for at least three slow deep breaths. Feel your body, and spread some loving energy throughout it.
It is your body, your knowledge, and your choices. How do you prep for your annual? Are there any parts of the visit that still make you anxious, even after (hopefully) going regularly? Let us know in the comments below.
Isabella Frappier is an Australian writer, tarot reader, birth doula, and holistic life coach, who helps women release energetic blocks, connect with their sexual power, and unleash their magic. When she’s not busy championing her sex positive agenda she… oh wait – she’s always busy doing that. Follow her adventures on Instagram!