Preparing for your first well-woman exam can be daunting. If this is your first time visiting the gynecologist, you probably have many questions and concerns that you don’t feel like you’ll ever be prepared for. While everyone will experience a well-woman exam differently, here are a few ways you can prepare.

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Understand What to Expect

Going into an appointment without knowing what is to expect is terrifying and can make you feel more nervous than necessary.

Before you arrive for your appointment, take the time to ask your doctor about what you should expect and how the appointment will go. She should be willing to explain the procedures during your well-woman exam and answer any questions you may have.

If you have friends who have gone through a well-woman exam and you feel comfortable asking them questions, do ask! Asking a friend how her appointment went and how she felt can help give you a better idea of what to expect. While medical professionals can always answer the technical questions, sometimes it’s nice to ask a friend for her thoughts as well. 

Don’t Go During a Menstrual Cycle

Sometimes, your menstrual cycle catches you off guard. If you know when your menstrual cycle should be and can arrange your appointment to avoid it, this is best. While your gynecologist will not turn you away if you’re on your cycle, the blood may skew your test results and require you to come back for another exam. 

Bring Someone for Support

You don’t need to bring them into the room with you, but having someone wait for you in the waiting area can calm a lot of anxiety. You won’t be sitting alone as you wait for your exam, and you won’t have to drive home alone either. Simply having a little bit of support there can ease your anxiety and make the appointment seem less daunting.

Brush up on your medical history

Your doctor may ask questions about your family’s medical history and any medications you’re on. Before you go to your appointment, write up a list of any medications you’re taking and brush up on your family’s medical history. While it may not be an immediate concern, knowing your family’s medical history can alert your doctor to any potential genetic conditions. It can also help you catch a problem before it grows into something severe.

Avoid Sex for 48 Hours

Having sex right before your appointment can skew your results. Semen can interfere with a pap smear and create an imbalance of natural bacteria in your vagina. A condom won’t help either, as the latex may cause inflammation in the vaginal canal.

When you know you have a well-woman exam in a few days, it’s best to avoid sex leading up to it. At a minimum, avoid sex for 48 hours before your exam. 

Track Your Menstrual Cycle

There are many free apps that allow you to track your menstrual cycle easily. This is crucial not only for scheduling purposes but also because your doctor will ask when your last cycle was. Having a clear record of your recent cycles can help your doctor account for any potential hormone imbalances or the possibility of pregnancy. It may also help her identify anything out of the ordinary if you commonly have irregular cycles.


Well-woman exams are a very common procedure for gynecologists, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less scary when you go to your first appointment. While you will likely have anxiety about the exam no matter how much preparation you do, taking the extra step to prepare yourself mentally can help ease your fears.

A well-woman exam aims to ensure your reproductive system is healthy and to catch any potential problems before they get more severe. Your health and safety are at the forefront of your doctor’s mind throughout the exam.