Hudson Valley Parent

HVP December 2017

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34 Hudson Valley Parent n December 2017 "I think it's best to share as much information as possible beforehand," says Rosendale mom, Tina Long, when looking back on her daughter's first appointment. Sharing personal stories with your daughter of your OB-GYN experiences can also help reduce anxiety says Long, finding her daughter very receptive to this strategy. Respect privacy So, the time is here, the appointment was scheduled, you're sitting in the waiting room, and the nurse calls your daughter's name. The next question arises- do you go in with her? For some mothers who have a tight bond with their daughters, the question may not seem like a question at all. However, Long and her daughter, Megan (now 28) are in agreement that you should respect your daughter's privacy by asking beforehand. "We have always had a very close and open relationship so I figured she would want me there," states Long. "But that was not for me to decide." As significant as this appointment is for you as a mom, this benchmark can be equally as important for your daughter on her journey into womanhood. "Make sure you give your daughter the choice to have you in the room," says Megan. It is scary, and she may want you there, but you want her to have the best care, so she needs to be able to be totally honest with her doctor." From a physician's perspective, Dr. Karpfen reports preferring to have the moms present during the first portion of the exam to provide details about the family history and surgical health. However, after this, Dr. Karpfen admits she will ask the mothers to leave to talk privately with their daughter. "It affords a young patient the opportunity to say and ask questions they didn't even know they felt uncomfortable asking about in front of parents," encourages Dr. Karpfen. If the moms feel left out, Karpfen leaves an option to regroup later in the appointment. Include your daughter in the process When choosing an OB-GYN for your daughter, it may not initially occur to moms to include their daughters in the decision making process. Megan states that skipping this step can be a huge mistake. "It's important for moms not to assume that their daughters will feel comfortable going to their choice of doctors," says Megan regarding her first appointment. "My mom's doctor was a male and as a teen that freaked me out." Your daughter will appreciate the gesture of being involved when choosing a physician. If she is comfortable from the beginning, chances are better for positive ongoing care. Physicians and parents alike agree- talking to your daughter is the best start to scheduling and preparing for her first gynecology appointment. By keeping communication open, respecting your daughter's privacy and always providing emotional support, Long reassures moms, "You will know when it is time." Michelle Peterson is a freelance writer living in Poughkeepsie with her spouse and two sons. She's most recently pursued her dream of writing full-time, with the support of her loving family and a great deal of coffee. FIRST OB/GYN APPOINTMENT (Continued from Page 33)

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