When you go to a free clinic to get birth control, do you have to be examined by a doctor before you can get it?
Not always. Until recently, women expected to have a pelvic exam before a doctor would prescribe any kind of birth control. Now experts agree that a physical exam is not always necessary before starting birth control.
Even though an exam is no longer required, it's a good idea in some cases. Some of the reasons why doctors or nurse practitioners do a physical exam before prescribing birth control are:
- If a girl has pelvic or abdominal pain.
- If a girl has abnormal vaginal discharge or abnormal bleeding.
- If a girl thinks she has a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
If these don't apply to you, let the clinic or doctor's office know that you don't want an exam when you make your appointment.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
Reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date reviewed: 11/05/2018