What to Expect - Birth Control

What to Expect
Patient Guide: Birth Control

Common Tests or Exams for Your Birth Control Discussion

Prior to a discussion of birth control methods, a thorough evaluation and examination is performed. The past medical, family and social history is discussed. Social history includes use of alcoholic beverages, smoking, any drugs and marital or living arrangements. This is the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have. A typical gynecological examination will follow this pattern:
  • Ask you to remove all of your clothes in private and don a gown with the opening in the front. You may then have a seat on the examination table.
  • Measure and record your blood pressure, pulse and weight, as well as height if this is a first visit.
  • Examine your breasts and assess your lungs and heart as well as the abdomen.
  • Have you bend your knees and position your feet in the stirrups (holders at the table end), then slide down further on the table.
  • Insert a speculum (metal or plastic clamp) into the vagina by the examiner after viewing the vulva (vaginal lips), which is then opened for better viewing of vagina and cervix.
  • Perform a Pap smear where a small brush or plastic spatula wipes the surface of the cervix to take cell samples. If there is evidence of infection, a culture swab will be taken as well.
  • Remove the speculum and perform a bimanual examination. The doctor or nurse practitioner places the second and third finger into the vagina and gently presses down with the other hand in areas being felt and evaluated for correct organ size and shape. Tumors and cysts are discovered at this point.
  • Perform a rectal examination (sometimes) where the examiner inserts a gloved index finger into the rectum to discover any abnormalities, hemorrhoids or tumors.
  • Ask you to then get dressed in privacy and then have a discussion.