Your first visit to the gynecologist can be a little scary, but the truth is there's nothing to be afraid of. In fact, at your first gyno visit, you talk more than anything else about your life, your feelings, your body, puberty, and the changes your body is going through. The first part, the talking part, is the interview. The actual exam (the naked part you're probably nervous about) takes only a few minutes!
After the interview, you'll be left in the room to undress and put on a gown. You'll feel more comfortable if you empty your bladder before the exam. Ask the nurse if you need to produce a urine sample (pee in a cup) before you start. Then, the nurse will hand you a gown. Unless you're told otherwise, take everything off (underwear and bra, too, but it's okay to keep your socks on!) and leave the gown open in the front, like a robe. You may also get a paper sheet to cover your lap so you'll feel more comfortable.
When the doctor comes in, he or she will have a nurse or assistant in the room during the exam. You can ask your mom, sister, or friend to come in, too, if it makes you more comfortable. The doctor, a nurse, or physician's assistant will check your height, weight, blood pressure, heart, and glands in your neck, underarms, belly, and pelvic area, just like during a regular checkup at the pediatrician's office.
At this first gyno visit, if you're not having problems with your period like excessive bleeding or severe cramping and if you're not already sexually active, the doctor will most likely only examine the outside of your vagina and surrounding areas very quickly to make sure everything looks normal. Just lie back and relax, and if you feel uncomfortable, let your doctor know. If you get ticklish, giggly, or uncomfortable, it helps to take your mind off of the exam by staring at a person or something in the room. It's over very quickly! (If by some small chance you do need an internal exam, check out BeingGirl's article on pelvic exams.)
The doctor will also check your breasts to make sure they are developing normally and don't have any lumps or cysts. For the breast exam, the doctor will examine your breasts with his or her fingers in a rolling motion kind of like gently kneading bread and will gently squeeze each nipple to make sure nothing comes out. The doctor will then explain how to examine your own breasts so that you can perform a self-exam each month. If he or she doesn't offer, ask! It's important to get to know your own breasts and notice any changes in them as they develop.
After your exam, the doctor and nurse will clear out and let you get dressed. You may have a follow-up conversation with the doctor to discuss anything that may have come up in the exam, answer any additional questions you may have, and let you know when to schedule your next appointment.
That's really all there is to it! Your first gyno visit is just one more milestone on the exciting road to womanhood.