I recently had a pelvic exam and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. My OB-GYN didn’t talk to me or tell me what they were doing during the exam. Is this normal?

Great question, thank you for asking! Pelvic exams are an essential part in making sure your body is healthy, but that doesn’t mean they are easy. Thinking about a pelvic exam can make a lot of people feel uneasy, whether it’s your very first one or you’ve had them before. However, finding the right health care provider (HCP) to perform your annual exam can make all the difference.

We wouldn’t say it’s abnormal that your obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) didn’t make small talk during your pelvic exam, because every provider and patient is different. Some providers may think that their patients want to simply get the exam over with. Others may prefer to talk it out before and during the exam. It really comes down to the patient’s preference. If you are otherwise comfortable with your OB-GYN, meaning you felt safe during your exam, you have a comfortable patient-provider relationship (you can ask them anything), and feel that they have a good bedside manner, simply speak up!

Before your next exam, say “Dr. ___ or Nurse Practitioner _____, I would really appreciate if you would walk me through the pelvic exam before you do the exam. I would also appreciate if you talk me through each step during the exam. This would really help me relax and feel more comfortable.” Most health care providers (HCP), will be receptive and welcoming to your request, but if they’re not it’s time to find a new provider!