How to Help Your Daughter Prepare for Her First Pap Smear

Mothers and daughters share so many things: hugs, jokes, interests, and even secrets. But the topic of sexual activity — and the gynecological care that should accompany it — can stymie even the most open moms. 

Is my daughter ready for a pap smear?

pap smear, or the screening for cervical cancer, is advised for all young women when they reach 21, whether they’re sexually active or not, as well as for younger teens if they are sexually active. 

Dr. Leslie Welborne, Dr. Alisa Ward, Dr. Melissa Bailey, and the entire team at Centennial OBGYN, PA are fully invested in providing well-woman care for women of all ages. We can help your daughter navigate the hardest parts of adolescence and young adulthood. 

Your daughter’s first pelvic exam and pap smear are a rite of passage in taking responsibility for her own health care, and we work with you to support her as she makes this transition.

What is the point of a pap smear and what does it detect?

The cervix is the opening at the lower part of a woman’s uterus, at the top of her vagina. A pap smear is simply a test that requires a cell sampling from the cervix, uterus, and vagina. 

The sample is taken to ensure that there’s neither the presence of cervical cancer itself or suspicious cells that look like they might become cancerous.

The good news is that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers there is. Most cervical cancer develops from having the human papillomavirus, or HPV, a common family of viruses that’s sexually transmitted. 

A two-part HPV vaccine is now available to girls between the ages of 9 and 12, and it’s the single most important step you can take to prevent cervical cancer from affecting your daughter, in addition to the pap smear. As with all cancers, preventive measures and early detection are key. 

What will a pap smear for a young woman be like?

After making sure she’s comfortable and understands what’s about to happen, we help her recline and put her feet in the stirrups that are attached to our exam table. We then use a vaginal speculum to carefully collect the cervical cell sample.

To get the sample, we gently insert an instrument that looks like a very long Q-tip to scrape the cell sample from her cervix. The procedure itself may feel like mild cramping, but it’s very brief, and afterward, we send the sample to a lab for analysis. 

For young women, pap smears are only recommended every three years. 

We know that your daughter’s first pap smear may cause some anxiety for both of you. This is why our staff’s compassion is second to none, and why we welcome the presence of a support person — a trusted friend or family member — to be with your daughter during the exam if she likes.  

What can I do to help my daughter prepare for her first pap smear? 

There are several things you can do to make your daughter’s first pap smear a more comfortable, less anxiety-producing experience:

You should be proud of yourself as a mom, too, because this visit is the first step for your daughter to become an empowered patient. 

Let the Centennial OBGYN, PA team handle this very important aspect of your daughter’s health. Call our office at 972-947-2281 or use our convenient online booking tool

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