Annual Exams / Pap Tests

The midwives of Vivante Midwifery & Women's Health are eager to serve women between pregnancies or who have not had, or do not intend, a pregnancy.  There are a number of services we offer related to an annual exam or well-woman exam.  An annual exam or well-woman exam is an opportunity to focus just on you and your needs or concerns.  We schedule a full hour for these exams because we want the time to fully understand and evaluate your specific situation.  We view this exam as a time to discuss and exchange new health information about women's health concerns.  While a physical exam is involved, the majority of the time is spent in reviewing your specific history and questions and responding to those.

We have a particular interest in working with young women who may be obtaining a Pap test or pelvic exam for the very first time.  It is important that the first time be a positive experience, not a frightening or painful one.  We know the idea of a pelvic exam can cause anxiety, and we are committed to spending lots of time educating a young woman about exactly what's involved, how it is done, and what she can learn about her body.  We take extra time with the physical exam and move at the pace set by the client herself.  This is also true for women who have had prior negative experiences with pelvic exams or who have had pelvic trauma of some sort in the past. 

An annual exam or well-woman exam includes the following: 

  • review of personal health history
  • review of pregnancy history and gynecologic history
  • review of menstrual history and current menstrual cycles
  • review of contraceptive history and current contraceptive use and/or needs
  • review of health and safety habits
  • review of selected family history factors
  • review and discussion of specific concerns or questions
  • physical exam which includes, at a minimum, examination of the following:
    • thyroid
    • breasts
    • heart and lungs
    • skin
    • abdomen
  • pelvic exam including a speculum exam (looking at the vagina and end of the womb) and bimanual exam (feeling the uterus and ovaries)
  • any tests that are necessary (Pap smear, tests for vaginal or pelvic infections, etc.)

An annual exam may also include contraceptive counseling or provision of contraceptive devices such as a diaphragm or IUD or birth control pills. It may include testing for specific health concerns such as anemia, diabetes, or thyroid problems.  Sometimes women have sexual concerns or questions that can be evaluated and discussed.  The range of topics is as varied as women themselves.