41 answers

7 Year Old Well Check Up... Is This Normal?

I took my daughter do the doctor for an eye exam and figured since it had been a while, and she just turned 7, to have her do her well check up. When they asked my daughter to strip to her undies I asked the nurse why and she said that the doctor is just going to look at some moles and freckles. I was shocked when the Dr pulled down her undies and looked in her vagina! I am pretty upset actually and cant get over it! I teach my daughters these are private parts and I feel like she is a little traumatized. I am expecially upset because the nurse lead me to believe her undies will stay on! I am ok with looking at moles but not her privates! Is this normal at well checkups and should I talk to my daughter? I dont know if it would be better to talk about it or just let it go. How do I get over it! I feel like she was way too young and this was completely unnessary and they should have asked me permission first and let me know...Is this what a normal well check up is like??!!!! please help.

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So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for your responses and advise. I tried to talk to my daughter and she was embarrased and "didnt want to talk about it" so I dropped it because I didnt want to make it a big deal. I hope over time she will forget it. I called the Dr office and said I want a note or something on each of my childrens' files that I do not want undies taken off without letting me know and asking me before hand. I have had a dr quickly "peek" at my 4 year old before and it wasnt as big of a deal as having my 7 yr old lay on a table and do this exam (it was a different dr). I am still sick about it but feel a little better. Thanks again!

Featured Answers

I can remember at 9 having this happen...it was close to menarche age. 7...ehh....it's iffy. Some say it's normal, others would say it's a bit early. This is one of many reasons honestly why I don't take my children to the doctor unless they are sick or I notice something wrong. If she is traumatized (or even if she isn't), I would ask that they explain what they are looking for and why, and ask that they ask permission first from both of you before an exam starts. Some would think that's silly, whatever, but in my mind it is only respectful that permission be granted from child and mom before sensitive areas are examined. Even if it's expected that at the exam this type of examination will be performed, I'm still a firm believer of permission being granted first..it sets a standard to me.

I have three daughters, the oldest 7, and this has NEVER happened to me. They have had to take pants off for shots. One time, a pediatrician did have my daughter remove most of her clothing, but
1. She was much younger
2. He explained why it needed to be done to her
3. He told her that because he was a Dr. and because her parents were there it was OK and no one else should touch her at all unless mom and dad are there.

The fact that you both are so upset means it was not handled well, even if it was 100% legit and necessary. And it means he thinks it's OK to handle patients this way. If you decide to leave this practice, tell them why, at least. Finally, yes that is part of her body, but IMO, unless you have expressed concern about an issue involving her vagina, there was no reason to examine it. I know I was never examined that way!

More Answers

Totaly normal...
The vagina is a part of her body...should he have ignored her ears during the exam? Why then should he not externally examine any part of her body? What if she had a rash or a growth or discharge from her vagina and he DIDN'T examine it?

Privacy is one thing...doctors are another...if she is going to take good care of herself as a woman she better get used to having professionals take a peak "down there".

I assume you or the nurse was in the room? THAT would be the only thing I would have concerned myself with if a guardian or assistant has not been present.

You say looked "in" her vagina...did he put her in stirups and do an INTERNAL examination? (Which would be inappropriate unless a problem was indicated) Or did he just do a visual EXTERNAL examination?

My pediatrician says girls should start seeing a gynacologist as young as 9 or 10 years old or as soon as they start their periods for preventative care and Guardasil etc. That is going to ivolve more "trama" than a doctor taking a quick peek under her undies.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey A.,

I just wanted to let you know that this is a normal thing for the doctor to do, although perhaps he didn't handle it as well as he could have. At this point, I think it's important for you to talk to your daughter about what happened, and explain to her that her vagina is a part of her body, and as she matures, the doctor is going to look there to make sure that everything is growing properly and that there isn't any kind of infection, etc... It is onw thing to tell our children that their private areas are private, but it is quite another for us to breed shame because a doctor performs a physical on them. I had my first "real" gynecological exam when I was 10 or 11, because my mother was concerned about something. She was in the room the whole time, and while it was uncomfortable, I didn't feel like anything inappropriate was being done to me. I would talk to your pediatrician and tell him that you were taken aback, and that in the future, you'd like some warning beforehand if he intends to check your daughter's vagina, and that she certainly needs some warning, as well.


1 mom found this helpful

Although it SHOULD have been explained better so both you & your daughter would be comfortable, I'm confused why so many people think this is "abnormal". As stated, the vagina is part of the body & should be taken care of & NOT treated differently at well checks! I was a family practice nurse & always tried to make sure children had healthy thoughts about all of their body parts. We asked permission of the mom right in front of her daughter.
Please explain w/ no embarassed looks/blushing that this is normal so she doesnt cringe at appts or think her private parts are dirty. I know that is one of the last things you would want. You are a great momma for asking this question, but please DON't file a grievance like some suggested. Instead, talk w/ the Dr & nurse privately. I doubt they want their patients uncomfortable!
take care,

1 mom found this helpful

Looked "in," (as you stated) or around the area?? Around, is very normal. Although, the Dr. should have talked you daughter through it. They need to check for multiple things, i.e- cleanliness, growth, infection, fusion etc.

1 mom found this helpful

This is normal not only do they check little girls down there they do boys to to make sure their testicles are in the right spot not swollen and the like.

I have taught my children that it is okay for a doctor to touch and look down there as long as mommy or daddy is in the room. However it is not okay for strangers, teachers, male family members that have not been approved for bath time. Which in my family only the grandpas are approved for that but only to a certain age.

The nurse however should have given you better information. I would have straight up asked the doctor when he did it what he was doing. I am surprised that your doctor had never done this before. Especially when she was a baby and toddler.
Talk with her about it. Help her feel comfortable. Tell her you were not prepared that they would do that type of exam this time so you had no time to prepare her for it. That it was only okay cause mommy was with her.

1 mom found this helpful

At the practice I take my kids to, this is normal. The pediatrician is responsible to ensure that 100% of the child is checked and healthy, not just 75% or 90%.
Also, if the doctor is just looking around the genitals, that isn't the vagina. The vagina is located inside the body. Doing a vaginal exam would require the insertion of a finger or being in the stirrups using the "duck" so that the doctor could actually see in the vagina.
I also don't think that the nurse led you to believe anything, if what you typed is the entire conversation about the topic (hard for me to know since we all usually do not type other conversations word for word.) I think that you asked an incomplete question and she gave an incomplete answer based on both of your expectations and experiences. The nurse experiences well child checks, probably every 20 minutes... so they are part of her daily routine, she also can see the medical reason why it is done. You probably aren't looking at it from the medical stand-point (I don't know your background, so I can't be sure) but instead from the protective parent point. Y'all weren't on the same playing field. Perhaps next time you can ask very specific questions to get the very specific answers that you need.
You also said you were shocked when the doctor did this... when you were researching and looking around for the right pediatrician, didn't you get this information? You know, on what they do at all of the well checks from newborn to age 12 or 15 (whatever age they take care of kids to, since all practices are different)?? And if you didn't do that, did you ask the doctor what was going to happen at the next appointment?
Yes, talk to your daughter and ask her if she is really traumatized, or if it is merely you projecting your feelings onto your daughter... or even a little bit of both.
Don't get me wrong, the doctor's office should have handled this differently! But you as the parent need to educate yourself on what is going to be done and communicate it to your daughter before going to the doctor's office.

1 mom found this helpful

My 4 children have always had their genitals examined. But a pediatrician should always be explaining along the way what they are doing. "Now let's check your reflexes, I can hear your heart beating, etc." Our ped. makes a big deal about who can see their privates and why she is going to and how mom is here with her and it is NEVER Ok for anyone else to do something like this ,etc. The exam is OK, but how the doc went about it might be another issue.

I would ask your daughter if she remembers it, but don't make too big of a deal. She might not be as traumatized as you think she is, and you don't want to get her scared. But clarifying why the doc did it and when it's OK and not OK.

1 mom found this helpful

I am nurse and have a 8 year old daughter. This is a normal part of a well child check, however they should not have led you to believe they were just checking for moles and freckles. My doctor also asks me and my daughter if it is "OK" for him to check her private area with me there. They should be just be checking that anatomy is correct. I Hope your daughter is not to traumatized. The doctor is someone that your daughter should feel she can trust and if you don't have the trust and open communication then I would recommend looking for a new Dr.

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