Young women preparing to head off to college for the first time have a lot to do over the summer months – student orientation, coordinating with new roommates, packing, saying goodbye to friends, and so much more. The time between high school graduation and move-in day can fly by.


But there’s one important task that young college-bound women should make sure they don’t forget. 


“It’s really important that young women see an obstetrician-gynecologist before they leave home for college,” said Elizabeth Mosier, M.D., a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist with Houston Methodist Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates at Sugar Land. “And often, it’s up to Mom to push for that appointment. If your daughter has an obstetrician-gynecologist already, encourage her to schedule an office visit over the summer. And if she doesn’t already have an obstetrician-gynecologist, it’s even more important that you work together to find someone your daughter likes and trusts.”


Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that girls have their first visit with an obstetrician-gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15, that doesn’t always happen. Many teen-aged girls either continue to see their pediatrician or change to a primary care physician – putting off that first obstetrician-gynecologist visit until they are an adult.


But Mosier said that approach overlooks the specialized areas of health where an obstetrician-gynecologist can provide experienced counsel and support.


“Young women need to have a gynecologist they can turn to for information and advice that goes beyond what a primary care physician typically covers, such as gynecological health, sexual health, birth control and sexually transmitted diseases,” she said. “Young women may have questions that they don’t feel comfortable asking a parent or their pediatrician or primary care doctor. Irregular periods can occur that first year of college with changes in diet, environment and stress. Questions about birth control can pop up.


Safety and consent are also important conversations to have. Having an initial visit with a gynecologist prior to going off to college gives young women an opportunity to begin building a long-term relationship with an OB/GYN they can talk to comfortably and in confidence.” 


Depending on the patient’s age and concerns, a breast exam and pelvic exam will be offered. Mosier says “While we do recommend starting pap smears at age 21, a breast exam and pelvic exam can be offered earlier or later, and can be tailored to the patient’s needs. A pelvic exam should never be painful or traumatic. At the first visit, I like to explain what a pelvic exam consists of and then let the patient decide for themselves. They may opt to complete their first exam or wait until the next time.”


“Whether they get an exam or not, when a new patient comes in to see me prior to college, it helps establish the habit of having an annual visit,” said Mosier. “It’s a sign that the patient is taking responsibility for her health.”


Still, Mosier said, most young women will overlook the importance of a pre-college visit unless Mom insists.


“There is so much going on during that time and the last thing a young woman wants to do is visit an OB/GYN, especially if she’s never been before,” said Mosier. “But when Mom said it’s important, they’ll get the message. And it’s actually a really smart move.” 


To schedule an appointment with Dr. Mosier or her partner, Dr. Rosalyn Miller, visit or call Houston Methodist Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates at 346.874.2060