Adolescent Health Issues
Nurse-midwives are the perfect provider for the introduction of the young woman into women’s health care. Providing a non-judgmental, safe place for the young woman to talk allows her to become an active participant in her health care, perhaps for the first time. We allow ample time
for us to get to know the client, giving her time to feel comfortable with us as well.
The first visit may entail a full history and physical, or just a consultation, depending on the circumstances around the client’s visit to us. We encourage the young woman to ask questions about her body changes in adolescence, menstrual cycle, cramps, sexuality, birth control, sexually transmitted infections (STI) or other issues she might be experiencing. Counseling on issues such as nutrition, tobacco/alcohol/substance abuse, exercise, and safe sex practices are just a few of the topics we might be discussing at a visit.
National guidelines recommend a Pap test beginning at the age of 21 regardless of sexual activity, but a pelvic exam, and/or STI testing may be warranted sooner. Nurse-midwives are an excellent choice to provide the first pelvic exam, making the young woman comfortable with her body, while taking the opportunity to teach and explain the components of the exam. We often suggest a young woman come to visit us before she leaves for college, so that we can review healthy lifestyle choices to follow while she is away at school. We are comfortable talking with these young women
about their lives and the choices, they need to make to become healthy adults, and we are always available for consultation should questions arise.