Having an annual women‘s exam is one way to promote your health and learn more about your reproductive system. During this exam, your health care provider will:


  • Take your medical and gynecological history
  • Take your blood pressure, weight and other vital signs
  • Examine your body, including your skin, and other systems to check for overall health
  • Perform a clinical breast exam
  • Check to see if your cervix, ovaries, uterus, vagina, and vulva are of normal size shape, and position
  • Check for signs of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), cancer or other abnormalities
  • Perform a pap smear if indicated
  • Review your immunization record and order vaccines if needed
  • Discuss your potential sexual health needs, such as protection from STIs, and reproductive health needs such as birth control if needed

How to Prepare for a Pelvic Exam

  • Write down a list of questions in advance, and bring it with you
  • Schedule your exam when you do not have your period
  • Know the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) and at what age you had your first period.
  • Avoid douching, having sexual intercourse, or inserting anything into your vagina for 48 hours before the exam
  • Empty your bladder before the exam (unless you are having problems with urination)
  • Relax! The exam is not painful! It is like having someone insert a tampon in your vagina!