Local OB/GYNS answer our biggest questions

Down There Questionnaire

What is a good age for a woman’s first visit to an OBGYN and what can she expect?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends initiating gynecologic visits between the ages of 13 and 15. “A patient’s first visit is just a talk between the patient and a doctor to build up a relationship,” says Dr. Bhagya Nakka, an OBGYN at St Joseph’s Medical Center.

As most young girls are already menstruating by this age group, this is the ideal time to discuss menstrual cycles and evaluate for any abnormalities that might require further work-up or intervention. Girls might not be sexually active at this age, but they are usually beginning to be sexually aware. “It is an ideal time to begin the discussion about healthy sexual behavior and disease prevention,” says Dr. Gail Joseph, OB/GYN at Doctors Hospital of Manteca. “It is also an ideal time to begin discussions [that] help to cultivate ‘body positivity’ and the idea of healthy body image, which can go a long way towards promoting mental health in today’s very image conscious society.”

At the first appointment, girls can expect to answer basic questions about their health and learn what to expect for future visits. There may also be a physical exam and those who are sexually active may be tested for STIs. “Most of the tests, for teens, they can be done by urine sample,” Dr. Nakka says.

What is a ‘Mommy Makeover’ and is it right for me?

The “mommy makeover” has become a very common term in the vernacular these days thanks to the Hollywood elite and social media influencers who aim to project that image of perfection, even in the post-childbearing years. “A mommy makeover is not a one size fits all procedure,” Dr. Nakka says. “Instead, this is a surgery that must be customized to patients individual needs, lifestyle, and anatomy.”

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the “mommy makeover” is a combination of procedures, all done at the same time, and which usually include a breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction, tummy tuck, liposuction, and/or a circumferential abdominoplasty. Tailored to the patient’s individual goals, they may also include a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), brachioplasty (or arm lift), thigh lift, labiaplasty, and other vaginal rejuvenation procedures. “The decision to have such a procedure is highly personal and is usually centered around a woman’s perception of the changes her body has gone through as a result of childbearing and breast-feeding,” says Dr. Joseph.

Pregnancy often involves a significant amount of weight gain, which can occur rapidly for some women. During this time, the skin on the abdomen stretches to accommodate a growing