Preparing for your wedding day (and night) is an exciting, but sometimes stressful time. Many young women who aren’t yet sexually active have questions about what to expect after they tie the knot.
What is a Premarital Exam?
A premarital exam is an opportunity to build a relationship with your provider before you become sexually active. The appointment usually includes a basic gynecological exam and an opportunity to discuss your questions or concerns.
Premarital exams can also include any the following:
Conversation about Birth Control Options & Family Planning
If you don’t want to get pregnant right away, you’ll want to discuss birth control options with your healthcare provider. There are many options such as birth control pills, an implant, or an IUD. Keep in mind that many types of birth control don’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections.
If you do want to have a baby sooner rather than later, you can discuss preconception health with your provider. You’ll get some good ideas about things you can do before and between pregnancies to increase your chance of a healthy pregnancy and healthy newborn.
If you’re over 21, your appointment may include a pap smear (also called a pap Test), which is a screening procedure for cervical cancer that tests for precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix. Starting at age 21, it’s recommended you have this test once every three years — or more frequently in the case of abnormal results.
Urinary Tract Infection Prevention
A urinary tract infection happens when bacteria travels up your urethra and into your bladder. Sexual intercourse can introduce bacteria into the urinary tract. If you haven’t been sexually active before, you may have a higher chance of developing a urinary tract infection if there’s frequent sexual activity during your honeymoon.
You can discuss the best ways to prevent a urinary tract infection and get advice about when to use an antibiotic if you get one.
Review of Family Medical History
A typical premarital exam usually includes a brief health history and a complete physical exam.
Your Questions & Concerns
A premarital exam is a great way to ask any questions you have and to establish a relationship with your provider. You can see an OB/GYN, nurse practitioner, or certified nurse midwife for your exam. The appointment usually occurs two or three months before your wedding date, but should happen at least one month in advance of your big day.
One of the most important things is to make sure you feel comfortable with your provider and reduce your concerns so you can focus on starting your new life with your spouse.