This is what happens when a female, whether she is 13, 25, 31 or 44 years old, goes to a family planning clinic:
Remember, if a words are highlighted in red, you can click on them and they will take you to a definition.
Going to a family planning clinic can be scary, but the staff will explain everything that will happen and knowing what to expect can help you be less nervous. If it's important for you to see a female clinician, tell the person you make your appointment with.
Remember that the clinic staff is there to help you. Talk to them! Ask them questions!
When You Arrive
Other Things You May Talk About
The Gynegological Exam
When you Arrive
First check in at the clinic front desk (if you have called to make an appointment, these may be the same people that you spoke to on the phone). You'll be asked your name You may be asked if you have an appointment. You will go to the clinic waiting room after checking in.
You can always walk in for information or to make an appointment. At some sites you can get a pregnancy test without an appointment. You may be asked if you have medical insurance.
You don't need insurance to be seen at a Title X funded family planning clinic.
Click here for a list of family planning providers in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania & surrounding areas.
Every clinic has a different system to see patients. At some clinics you will see a counselor first, at other sites you see a lab tech, & at many sites you see a clinician first. Each way is fine.
Who will you meet? What will happen? One of the staff you will meet is the counselor. The counselor will ask you why you came to the clinic today. You or the counselor will complete any medical forms need for your visit. Everything you tell the clinic staff is confidential and private.This means that whatever you tell the clinic staff will not be shared with anyone outside of the clinic. If you are a new patient you will be asked about your medical history and personal information.
They are very serious about confidentiality!
When they call they will only talk to you unless you say it's okay for them to talk to someone else (like your mom, dad, sister, roommate, or partner). If you ask them to, when they write to you they will use a plain envelope. The phone number you give can be your home, a relative's or friend's.
It is important to tell the counselor if you have any problems or concerns. Maybe you have questions about:
The counselor will talk to you about lots of things during your visit.
You may talk about birth control methods & condoms. They will ask:
Other Things You May Talk About
The Gynecological Exam
What will happen? Who does the exam? You may be placed in an examination room by one of the clinic staff. You will be asked to undress.(Some clinics will ask you to take everything off and give you a gown to put on other clinics will ask you to take everything off from the waist down & they will give you a paper drape or sheet.) You will then sit on the exam table and wait. A trained medical professional, known as a clinician, will examine you. A clinician can be a:
important to answer the questions truthfully.
Remember that everything you tell the staff is confidential and private and
that the clinic staff cares about you and your health.
The questions they ask may seem personal, but they help the staff take care of
you. It's okay for you to ask the clinician questions! As the clinician does your
exam, they will explain what is happening throughout the exam. One of the
first things the clinician will do is have you lie down on your back on the exam
table and they will check your breasts.
A Basic Gynecological Exam
Since you are already lying down for your breast exam, you will need to slide down the table and put your feet in the footrests at the end of the table.
Step 1: First the clinician will look at your labia. Why?
instrument called a speculum (spec-u-lum).
What is a speculum?
A speculum is a metal or plastic instrument shaped like a duck's bill, and about 5 inches long. Most clinics will warm, and perhaps lubricate, the speculum before
vagina. With the other hand they will press on your stomach. This is called a bimanual exam and allows the clinician to feel your uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes for any problems.
Remember to tell your clinician if the exam hurts!
You made it through the exam! What's next?
control method, you will either:
You can make the appointment on your way out or call the clinic later.
Remember that most women are nervous about getting a gynecological exam.
Ask questions, listen to the answers, and let the clinic staff help you through the visit.
Your health is important!
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