When you worry about your grooming
Your ob-gyn only has about seven to 11 minutes each visit to spend with you, and she’s not using that time to focus on how close you shave. “I see so many patients who apologize for not shaving their legs,” says Maureen Mulvihill, MD, an ob-gyn in private practice in San Pedro, California. “But I don’t notice, and I’ve never met another physician who does.” Nancy Lebowitz, MD, a clinical instructor at NY Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell in New York City, agrees. “We don’t care about your stubble—we want to make sure everything is healthy down there!” she says. “Hair is natural, and we’ve all got it.” (These 15 everyday habits are messing with your vaginal health more than you ever thought!)
When you cancel because of your period
All the ob-gyns we spoke to said the same thing: Don’t cancel your appointment because of your period. Newer Pap smear techniques allow doctors to get accurate results even when it’s that time of the month, explains Dana Jacoby, MD, an ob-gyn in private practice in Tinton Falls, NJ. “Remember, I’m an obstetrician—I help women give birth. I’ve seen a fair share of blood,” he says. “I prefer my patients keep their appointments.” If you’re experiencing heavy bleeding and are concerned about it, it actually makes sense for your doctor to see you then to see if there are clues she can find as to why. However, in extremely rare situations, if your flow is exceptionally heavy, Dr. Lebowitz suggests you reschedule, since the lab may make your doctor repeat the Pap.