What are my blood pressure numbers? Is it time for a mammogram? Am I due for a tetanus shot? What about a Pap test?
Staying on top of your health picture can be a lot more challenging than it might seem. Especially for women who often pay more attention to the health of family members than they do their own health and wellness needs.
This is why maintaining a strong relationship with your primary care provider (PCP) is so important.
You and Your PCP
Whether your PCP is a family medicine physician, an internist, a nurse practitioner, or physician assistant, they understand and monitor your entire health picture. From regular physical exams to caring for you when you are facing an illness or injury, your PCP gets to know you well.
While you may get busy and forget when you’re due for a screening or appointment, your primary care team, and the electronic tools like MyLGHealth they use, keep you on track. Partnering with your PCP helps assure you get the care you need, when you need it.
Trained in Women’s Health
Women’s health is a major area of focus in all primary care medical education. PCPs routinely address a variety of health concerns specific to women including urinary tract infections, yeast infections, birth control, sexually transmitted infections and menstrual disorders. They can also manage routine preventive care such as Pap tests to check for cervical cancer and mammograms to screen for breast cancer.
Many PCPs are trained to provide pregnancy care, including preconception counseling and prenatal care for women at low risk for complications. A low-risk pregnancy means the mother’s overall health, lifestyle, and age align with guidelines established by respected organizations like the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Most pregnancies are in fact, considered low-risk.
Family Medicine is deeply rooted—both in training and in philosophy—in caring for the entire family at every stage of life. Some family medicine doctors still deliver babies. When you partner with your PCP throughout pregnancy and delivery, you receive care from a trusted provider who can continue to care for you and your baby after delivery.
When to See an OB/GYN
Although your PCP can address many women’s health needs, there are times they may refer you to an obstetrician/gynecologist. OB/GYNs have specialized training in high-risk pregnancies and can perform surgeries, like hysterectomy and tubal ligation.
While seeing an OB/GYN is sometimes very appropriate due to their specialized training, your PCP can often provide the care you need.