Good idea, bad idea: Taking 2-year-old to gyno exam?

I called last week to schedule my annual gynecological exam with my midwife. I was surprised when they said she had an opening for that Friday. I hadn’t planned to schedule it that early because I wanted more time to lose holiday weight, and I wanted to do it when the 2-year-old was at mother’s morning out.

But I decided not to procrastinate and took the appointment.

I brought books, Bendaroos and snacks to keep her busy while we were waiting and during the appointment.

She was a little bit loud in the waiting room but not too bad. She liked watching me pee in cup and also enjoyed me stripping all the way down to weigh myself. (Don’t need any excess weight on that scale.)

When the nursed pulled out a needle to draw blood the baby asked her “Is that an allergy shot?” She’s used to going to the allergy clinic with me. But then she cried when they pricked my finger.

My 2-year-old was fairly obsessed with the stirrups on the exam table. She kept bossing me to put my feet in them even though I was naked. I held her on my chest during the actual pelvic exam so she wouldn’t be scared. She kept trying to look over my knees at what the midwife was doing.

I ran into a friend with a newborn at the doctor’s office that day. She emailed me later that the baby slept up until the time she was naked and then she ended up juggling the baby the whole exam.

Have you ever taken your baby, toddler or older child to your gynecological exam with you or do you avoid it like the plague? How did it go when you took them? Were they scared during any part of it? Did any part fascinate them? (I’m pretty sure my toddler will grow up to be a midwife! She liked those stirrups a lot!)

53 comments Add your comment

BRC

January 20th, 2010
7:09 am

Good idea, bad idea – doesn’t matter. Sometimes you just have to. You’re not the first to do it. My Dr.’s office has a basket of toys in the waiting room, so they clearly expect that some patients will have to bring their kids. Just teach them that it’s the same as any other public place – they have to use respectful, inside voices and it will all be fine. I had to bring my toddler once. Just made sure my kids stood up by my head. We held hands and talked the whole time. I’m not sure G even knew something else was going on in the room.

motherjanegoose

January 20th, 2010
7:22 am

I would NEVER bring my child to this exam. I went yesterday and cannot imagine having a child in the room while I had my feet in the stirrups.

Julia

January 20th, 2010
7:33 am

MJG, you are covered up :)

Renee

January 20th, 2010
8:07 am

@Julia – I think MJG knows if she is covered up.

Katie

January 20th, 2010
8:12 am

I took my kids to my post partum 6 week check up, but then again, they were babies and had no clue! During this pregnancy, I have taken L withe me everytime, but that will stop with the next visit, since that is when the “checking” starts..he’ll stay home with Daddy. I don’t want him to freak out!

For an annual exam, I know some doctors offices that will let the child sit with the nurse for a couple mins. until things are done. THat would be helpful!

Julia

January 20th, 2010
8:12 am

Renee, MJG knows I adore her to the end of the earth….

Julia

January 20th, 2010
8:15 am

I would not take my “boy” in there with me past toddler but my dd, if I had one… yea.. this would be a good talk that one day she will have to do it….

Kathy

January 20th, 2010
8:15 am

They only time I took Little E was for my 6 week check up after she was born and she slept the whole time. I have not ever taken her again. I just think the gyno exam is not a place for anyone but you and the doc.

BTW….what the heck are Bendaroos?

motherjanegoose

January 20th, 2010
8:17 am

Yes, I was just in there yesterday and remember the lovely paper gown. Not flattering!

motherjanegoose

January 20th, 2010
8:21 am

@ Kathy….I would take an infant in a seat but never one that was walking around on their own.
I agree that the GYN does not need kiddos in the room while you are having your exam.
Cannot fathom having the Doctor jerk quickly, with a tool inside you, as your child did something that distracted her….ouch.

Julia

January 20th, 2010
8:41 am

MJG, you are a mess girl :)

JATL

January 20th, 2010
8:43 am

I’ve taken a baby in a carrier once or twice, but nothing beyond that. Frankly I find it disgusting! To me, there’s just something wrong with having any child toddler aged or over in there. I’ve seen women at the gyno with REALLY older kids -and boys at that! I’ve also seen the nurse tell them that maybe they would be more comfortable waiting outside because obviously the nurse thought it was weird too! I have a 1 year old and a 3 year old and would NEVER take either of them with me.

MomsRule

January 20th, 2010
8:47 am

Really? Kids at the GYN appt. Nope. Never have taken them and never will.

I can perhaps see an infant at a post partum check up but after that….no way.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

January 20th, 2010
8:48 am

The same friend I mentioned in the story who just had her baby sent this anecdote about having her older daughter with her and being surprised by an internal ultrasound —

“Took my big girl to one of my early OB appts. since we were out doing stuff during her spring break, and apparently they now routinely do an internal ultrasound before they can do the external heartbeat — had only planned to take her to the later belly one — she stood up by my head, but I still had to answer a lot of questions about that probe!!!”

JJ

January 20th, 2010
8:56 am

I’ve taken my daughter numerous times. She used to go to almost every doctor appointment with me, GYN or otherwise.

It think it’s important to let your kids know that a doctor’s office is not a scary place. And we HAVE to take care of ourselves. The sooner you let them know this, the better off they will be. If they see that Mommy isn’t scared, then they won’t be either……

Remember, it’s the message you are sending.

cld

January 20th, 2010
8:57 am

I have taken my son (one and a half) to my postpartum and to my annual, so he was six weeks old and about 15 months old. As a newborn, he just stayed in his infant seat, which attached to the stroller. This year, I had him in his stroller with a snack cup, sippy cup, a couple books and a stuffed animal. I parked the stroller behind the exam table, and he was content to sit and entertain himself for the whopping 20 minutes we were in that room. I had planned to leave him with my sister, but she had something come up – so he went with me. Honestly, it would have taken more time for me to drop him off with someone, than the time actually spent in the room. I think two years old is where I’d draw the line. I would not want a child in there who can’t be confined to a stroller and is not old enough to sit still and not get up. My concern isn’t with the child seeing anything (he sees me naked at home on occasion, if I have to shower while he’s awake and hubby isn’t home, though as he gets older that will stop). My concern is with the child being a disturbance to the doctor or nurse.

Michelle

January 20th, 2010
9:04 am

I wouldn’t only for the simple fact it’s hard to focus/relax when you are constantly worried about the little ones are doing. You may have questions to ask, but forget or get distracted and forget something important! I think it might also take away from the doctor’s attention trying to make sure the little one wasn’t in their way! What if THEY missed something important?!

Now, a regular MD appointment, I don’t really have a problem with. There are a lot of things to talk about and teach during a regular exam!

Julia

January 20th, 2010
9:05 am

JJ that is a good point :)

Julia

January 20th, 2010
9:15 am

I have recently been called a prude and I do not run around my house nekid. But a 2 year old at the appt. If they do ask questions, answer them on their level. Mommy, what is he doing do you? Honey he is checking me to make sure I dont get sick. Mommy what is that big thing on the table? Honey its something to help the dr to examine me….. leave it there :)

DB

January 20th, 2010
9:28 am

Nope – never did. One, because I just didn’t want to worry about a child while my feet were off the floor, so to speak. :-) It’s not a question of the doctor’s office being a “fearful” place — it’s a question of Mommy’s sanity! And, to be honest, Mommy’s sense of modesty — I would never “bare all” to my kids at home, so I’m sure not going to spread my legs in front of ‘em just because I’m in a doctor’s office! If I’m at the doctor’s office, I think I deserve an opportunity for “me” time, even if it is cold and a little uncomfortable :-)

Dave

January 20th, 2010
9:29 am

I’ve never take my child to a GYN appointment.

Julia

January 20th, 2010
9:31 am

Julia

January 20th, 2010
9:33 am

DB lol, that is the last on my list of “me” time :)… but I get what you are saying. I am giggling as I am typing this :)

CDD

January 20th, 2010
9:36 am

Had to bring my son with me to my 6 weeks checkup. I actually think most docs/midwives expect it since a lot of them like seeing how the baby that they delivered is doing. After that, maybe not so much. I also had to bring my son with me to my first annual visit after his birth. He had lots of raisins and sippy cups to keep him occupied but ended up lying on my stomach while the exam was taking place. That was the last time he came with me. After my daughters were born I always got someone to watch them when I had to go (other than the 6 weeks postpartum checkup.) My older children loved going with me when I got my ultrasounds done for #4 but they didn’t see anything of me other than my huge belly.

I do think kids learn by example and taking them to the doctors to show how to behave in that situation is good, but not with the feet in the stirrups – at least when they’re old enough to ask questions. Too distracting. But if you have no other choice and no one available to watch them… you do what you have to do.

BlondeHoney

January 20th, 2010
9:54 am

Mayb because I had boys it’s different, but unless they were newborns strapped in a carrier, no I would NEVERtake them with me into the exam room. Eeeeeewww

ZachsMom

January 20th, 2010
10:34 am

My Dr’s offices has a LARGE sign that says “NO CHILDREN UNDER 12 ALLOWED”. I don’t know if that means yoiu can’t bring them to an ultra sound or not. Maybe thay have a seperate entrance.

cld

January 20th, 2010
1:53 pm

ZachsMom, my office has a sign that says “Please do not bring sick children into this office.” So by implication they seem to realize healthy children may tag along.

Wounded Warrior

January 20th, 2010
2:23 pm

My girls were in their stroller and they were 1 and 2. They were just fine, since they thought that if they didn’t behave, they’d get a shot. I took them for ice cream afterwards for good behavior. I wouldn’t take them now, since they are 11 and 12. I waited until Mom’s morning out, or when they (finally) started pre-K.

SRH

January 20th, 2010
3:04 pm

This is disrespectful of the medical professional’s time as well as to all the other women (especially moms who did not bring their toddlers). This is just one of those places where it is NOT a good idea. From a liability perspective alone – this is a no-no. You weren’t in a hurry to make the appointment, so you have taken another time. For a lot of women, a gyno exam is stressful and the last thing they need is a child that is “a little loud” – translation – “quite loud.”

motherjanegoose

January 20th, 2010
3:47 pm

@ SRH…I am thinking along your lines. I cannot imagine being the Doctor and having little kids roaming around the room or distracting me during a procedure.

Sometimes I am really taken back at the opinions on this blog and see that I am completely in the minority.

If I were going for a regular visit, say with strep throat, then I MIGHT take my kids.

We never lived near family when mine were little and I always managed to figure out a way to go to the Doctor alone. I just did not feel the urge to bring them along.

SRH

January 20th, 2010
4:49 pm

@mjg I think we are the minority! It just seems wrong, especially when she had an option to not take that time slot. I would not be pleased had I been the DR or midwife. This is about as private as things should be – to all involved. Sometimes it is not all about “you” Theresa!

motherjanegoose

January 20th, 2010
4:54 pm

I spoke with a friend of mine who is older and I ask her stuff all the time.

She told me, “That doctor’s office is nuts not to have a sign saying no children….can you say lawsuit?’

SRH

January 20th, 2010
5:18 pm

Exactly my thoughts MJG – If something had happened (God forbid) the office would have faced a huge lawsuit.

Tara

January 20th, 2010
5:53 pm

I had forgotten until I read the comment from ZachsMom, but my doctor’s office also asks women not to bring children along except for newborns at the 6-week appointment. I don’t think I’d ever bring my kids. I’d have to have no friends or family who could possible watch them ever and be totally desperate. I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong, but I just wouldn’t want them there.

HB

January 20th, 2010
5:58 pm

Sounds like a bad idea to me — too distracting for Mom and Dr. Unless the child is old enough and well-behaved enough to sit and read in the waiting room (having a single mom, I did that from time to time as a child, but it was a small town with small offices in their own buildings, so not a lot of strangers in and out and not a place where I might sneak off down the hall or to another floor), then find please find somewhere else for the child to be.

Active Duty Mom

January 20th, 2010
6:42 pm

SRH, I’m with you on this one. Bad idea and a huge liability. Toddlers are very curious and a biohazardous waste basket, used sharps container, etc. can be at the perfect height for little hands to explore. If the medical visit is not a medical emergency and the child is not school aged where they could wait patiently in the waiting room with a book, you need to find a babysitter when you book the appointment.

Wounded Warrior

January 20th, 2010
6:55 pm

I am a single mom and had no one to keep them at the time. I am disabled and have a very limited income. The girls were good and didn’t get into anything, as I only did it one time. I found out that I had stage 1 cervical cancer, so my family took care of my girls while I had surgery. If I didn’t get the paps done, I would not be alive today. That happened when I was 27 years old.

SRH

January 20th, 2010
7:24 pm

Wounded warrier – your story and situation is totally different than the one here. I am happy to hear that you are better.

FCM

January 20th, 2010
8:14 pm

Infant at post pardum- yes. Toddler at ultra sound to see the baby in my tummy – yes. Any other appointment? I had to once (babysitter got sick) and vowed to NEVER to do that again. The child sat behind the changing curtain the whole time and she did great with her books and dolly. MOM on the other hand decided this was just not a good thing. OH! she stayed with the nurse for the pee in the cup–I would never have done that with her in the room. Wounded Warrior thank you for the reminder, I am over due and need to make an appointment.

Nadia74

January 20th, 2010
9:31 pm

It sounds like a lot of you live very differently than I do. I have taken my kids to numerous doctor’s appointments. I don’t have a babysitter readily available. What exactly is the liability in taking a child to a gyno’s office? How is this different than any other doctor’s office? They have gone to urgent care with me, they have gone to ob/gyn. They don’t stick their heads down at the business end of things. They generally sit and look at books. The office I go to does have toys and children’s books. MY DOCTOR DELIVERED MY BABIES, SHE IS GLAD TO SEE THEM AS THEY GROW. Distracting? Dangerous? How so? Perhaps your pap smears are much more involved than mine and involve some sharp instruments. The internal exam takes no time at all. Usually, the doctor or mid-wife is engaged in conversation with me and my child(ren) as she does the exam.

Someone explain to me how this is disrespectful of the dr’s time??? I am not asking them to do anything differently than they would do if the child was not with me. The appointment takes the same amount of time.

BlondeHoney

January 20th, 2010
10:40 pm

Nadia74, do you have boys or girls? I can’t imagine having little boys in the exam room, mommy with legs spread in the stirrups…that is TOO creepy for me, sorry

Wounded Warrior

January 21st, 2010
12:00 am

@ FCM and SRM thanks. I didn’t think to much about it as it was found during routine pap. That was 10 years ago. Just thought that the importance of getting tested and also doing the monthly self brest exam can save your life. This is an important topic, but the samatics of how…kids, no kids…just please take these tests so you can take care of your family.

Wounded Warrior

January 21st, 2010
12:12 am

BTW, kids dad passed 6 years after my surgery…so if I didn’t do this, my kids would be orphans. God has blessed me and am very grateful. You just don’t know what the future holds.

motherjanegoose

January 21st, 2010
6:21 am

@ wounded warrier..I agree with SRH and am happy that you are alive to enjoy your kids!

@ nadia74…I do live differently than you and am in awe of your post and questions. Maybe someone else will answer the questions I cannot believe you are asking. Again, could be just me.

SRH

January 21st, 2010
7:03 am

@mjg – no, definitely not just you. When I read @nadia74’s comments, all I can say is “are you kidding me.”?

Nadia74

January 21st, 2010
10:12 am

I am not kidding. I guess this just shows how different everyone is. I am serious with my questions. I have a boy and girls. Obviously, when they are old enough to sit in the waiting room by themselves, they will. Right now, though, if they are with me, they go in with me.

Warrior Woman

January 21st, 2010
10:54 am

The GYN is no place for a child older than an infant.

motherjanegoose

January 21st, 2010
11:39 am

LOL, to me, “are you kidding me” equals ” are you nuts” but again, maybe it is just me ( SRH?) and I am outta here to Texas…have fun all!

Nadia74

January 21st, 2010
3:17 pm

To each his own, I guess.

Producer

January 23rd, 2010
3:13 pm

As a guy I occasionally come over here and see what the fair sex is talking about. This is disgusting! LOL! I especially liked the comment from one of yall saying that you didn’t want the kid to see what was going on between the stirrups and get ’scared.’ I howled laughing at that!! Seeing ‘down there’ is scary enough to adults at times, never mind a 2 year old taking a gander! Kid might be traumatized for life! LMAO!