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Parents Question If Girls Are Visiting Gynecologist Too Early

FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) - Most parents will tell you their children grow up too fast. More and more, gynecologists are seeing girls as young as 13-years-old.

Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth recently began following the recommendation.

Doctors at Cook Children's say the move is about following national guidelines. But some parents think these first visits to the ob/gyn are still too early.

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For the most part it was business as usual when Emily Fliedner went for her yearly checkup with her pediatrician. But on this visit the 12-year-old also learned what it will like the first time she visits an ob/gyn.

"It helps me know what I need to be aware of and what to stay away from, and where I need to be," she said.

Emily's mom, Melissa, worries about medical heredity and is making sure her daughter is ready. "Because of my history I want to make sure she's taken care of too."

Currently the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that a girl's first ob/gyn visit happen between 13- and 15-years-old.

Doctor Audrey Rogers, a pediatrician at Cook Children's, said, "It depends a lot on the child and the situation."

Dr. Togers is one of few pediatricians in North Texas who performs pelvic exams -- but she doesn't recommend them for everyone.

She says if there's medical history and the parents have pelvic exam concerns, then she can do an ultrasound instead. "If issues come up with a young girl such as needing birth control or having problems with your periods, or bad cramping, or whatever… if your pediatrician is not comfortable talking about periods or what to do for that then certainly visiting an ob/gyn, even at an age as early as 13 or 14, is not a bad idea."

Still, parents are divided on the issue. "It sounds too young," said mother Michelle Victoria. "They are just now becoming a woman. You don't want the traumatic ob/gyn visit at 13."

Mother Virginia Torres Fehl looked at things differently. "It depends, depends on if she's already sexually active. If she is I guess she has to go."

For mom Melissa Fliedner educating her daughter means peace of mind. "We are doing it as a proactive, preventative measure."

Personally Dr. Rogers said that if a child has no medical history, medical problems and isn't sexually active, then she thinks young girls can wait until they're 21 to go see an ob/gyn for the first time.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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