Schedule your well-woman visit with a doctor or nurse every year. The well-woman visit is an important way to help you stay healthy.
Well-woman visits include a full checkup, separate from any other visit for sickness or injury. These visits focus on preventive care for women, which may include:
- Services, like shots, that improve your health by preventing diseases and other health problems
- Screenings, which are medical tests to check for diseases early when they may be easier to treat
- Education and counseling to help you make informed health decisions
What happens during a well-woman visit?
Your well-woman visit is a chance to focus on your overall health and wellness. There are 3 main goals for the visit:
- Documenting your health habits and history
- Getting a physical exam
- Setting health goals
1. Health habits and history
Before your physical exam, the doctor or nurse will ask you to answer some questions about your overall health. These questions may cover topics like your:
- Medical history
- Family’s health history
- Sexual health and sexual partners
- Eating habits and physical activity
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
- Mental health history, including depression
- Relationships and safety
2. Physical exam
The doctor or nurse will examine your body, which may include:
- Measuring your height and weight
- Calculating your body mass index (BMI) to see if you are at a healthy weight
- Checking your blood pressure
- Taking your temperature
- Doing a breast exam (feeling your breasts and under your arms for lumps or other changes)
- Doing a Pap test and pelvic exam
3. Health goals
You and the doctor or nurse will talk about the next steps for helping you stay healthy. Together, you can decide which screenings or follow-up services are right for you.
If you have health goals, like losing weight or quitting smoking, you and your doctor or nurse can make a plan to help you meet these goals.
How often do I need a well-woman visit?
It’s a good idea to get a well-woman visit once a year. Depending on the screenings or other services you need, it may take more than 1 visit.
For example, the doctor or nurse may ask you to come in for a follow-up visit to discuss the results of a screening. Or you may need a separate appointment to get a specific service.