Women may only need Pap tests once every three years but that does not mean you should skip Ob-Gyn visits during the period in between. The Pap test is a pretty important appointment as it helps check for and detect cervical cells that may become cancerous over time, but it makes for only one aspect of your health.

During an annual appointment with your Ob-Gyn, you can expect to be taken through a number of separate screenings, depending on factors such as age, health history, and risk for disease. Read on for some of the benefits of seeing your Ob-Gyn annually:

1.     Clinical breast exam

Ideally, you will be giving yourself a self-breast exam at least once every, but it is important to have an expert to perform an easy and painless exam once every year just for confirmation that you are actually healthy. Caroline Colin, MD, Ob-Gyn at http://www.colinobgyn.com insists on the importance of yearly breast checks with a professional regardless of how meticulous your home routine is as some signs are too subtle to detect yourself.

2.     Preventive care

Ob-Gyns are specialized physicians that not only have the training to assess and treat conditions of the human body, but also are able to guide their patients on appropriate ways to take care of their bodies. Having the chance to discuss ways to stay healthy through exercise, diet changes and other at-home hacks, with someone who knows the ins and outs of the female anatomy is not a privilege to be missed.

3.     Vaccinations

You can also use the annual examination appointment with an Ob-Gyn to receive vaccinations on infections such as pneumonia and the flu. On your very first meeting, your Ob-Gyn may ask to review your vaccination record to check if there is something you are missing. The HPV vaccine is particularly important for young women and may be administered at around the age of 18, typically when you are required to start seeing an Ob-Gyn.

4.     Sex talk

If you find it too uncomfortable talking about sex matters with your primary care physician, your yearly appointment with the Ob-Gyn is the perfect time for it. Whether it is the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, pain during intercourse or birth control options you wish to talk about, you should be comfortable opening up to your Ob-Gyn as they are more familiar with the topic and are more prepared for sex-related questions.

5.     Preconception counseling

If you are contemplating getting pregnant in the near future, perhaps for the first time, you may want to have a nodding acquaintance with what you are up against. An Ob-Gyn you have been seeing for some time has your health history in their fingertips and will be able to prepare you for gestation with your health state in mind. Also, you will likely be more comfortable around them, which will help create the atmosphere needed to discuss topics you may find embarrassing or perhaps too personal.