Talking with your daughter about the importance and experience of her first Pap test might feel daunting, but it can be an important opportunity to dispel unnecessary fears and anxieties about this important health check up, according to Dr. Emil Tajzoy and Dr. Ted Fogwell, two OB/GYNs based in Dallas, TX. Dr. Tajzoy and Dr. Fogwell have taken to their blog to share some advice about the importance of such a conversation.

“Having an honest conversation with her parent will allow her to feel more knowledgeable when she goes into the procedure,” they write. “[Y]our daughter should understand why she is getting the procedure…[and] she should know too that the time she spends with her doctor should be hers to ask questions.”

You may want to join your daughter in the room for her first exam, but leaving this decision up to her is an important component of the wellness experience, “as you are reminding her that only she can make decisions about her body,” they add.

The Pap test is an important opportunity for questions: questions a daughter may ask her mother, a patient may ask her doctor, and the doctor may ask her patient. A preliminary conversation between mother and daughter can be a vital step in establishing this openness and exchange of information.

Read more advice on sharing a conversation around the Pap test from Dr. Tajzoy and Dr. Fogwell here.