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ACOG Committee Opinion No. 755 Summary

Well-Woman Visit

doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000002898
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ABSTRACT: A well-woman visit provides an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimizing health risks. Given the shifting and complex landscape of care, in which many women may not receive all the recommended preventive services, obstetrician–gynecologists have an opportunity to contribute to the overall health and well-being of women throughout the lifespan by providing recommended preventive services and counseling. Taking a comprehensive history (specifically obtaining detailed information on symptoms and past medical and gynecologic history) will inform if certain components of the physical examination, including breast or pelvic examination, are indicated at that visit and will inform shared decision making for these examinations. Family history should be used as a risk assessment tool and should be completed and updated regularly to ensure the most comprehensive assessment of a woman’s personal risk factors. Another key component of a well-woman visit for a reproductive-aged woman is the development and discussion of her reproductive life plan to ensure that medical testing and treatments provided are aligned with her current and future plans. Obstetrician–gynecologists provide care for women across the lifespan, and periodic well-woman visits are appropriate and necessary for perimenopausal women and postmenopausal women as well. This Committee Opinion has been revised to reflect updated guidance on components of the physical examination and new sources for well-woman preventive services.

This information is designed as an educational resource to aid clinicians in providing obstetric and gynecologic care, and use of this information is voluntary. This information should not be considered as inclusive of all proper treatments or methods of care or as a statement of the standard of care. It is not intended to substitute for the independent professional judgment of the treating clinician. Variations in practice may be warranted when, in the reasonable judgment of the treating clinician, such course of action is indicated by the condition of the patient, limitations of available resources, or advances in knowledge or technology. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reviews its publications regularly; however, its publications may not reflect the most recent evidence. Any updates to this document can be found on www.acog.org or by calling the ACOG Resource Center.

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Number 755 (Replaces Committee Opinion No. 534, August 2012)

For a comprehensive overview of these recommendations, the full-text version of this Committee Opinion is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000002897.

Scan this QR code with your smartphone to view the full-text version of this Committee Opinion.

Committee on Gynecologic Practice

This Committee Opinion was developed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Committee on Gynecologic Practice in collaboration with committee member Catherine Witkop, MD, MPH.

Full-text document published online on September 24, 2018.

Copyright 2018 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, posted on the Internet, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher.

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Official Citation

Well-woman visit. ACOG Committee Opinion No. 755. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2018;132:e181–86.

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Recommendations and Conclusions

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists makes the following recommendations and conclusions:

  • A well-woman visit provides an excellent opportunity to counsel patients about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and minimizing health risks.
  • The periodic well-woman care visit should include screening, evaluation and counseling, and immunizations based on age and risk factors.
  • The interval for specific individual services may differ for individual patients, and the scope of services provided may vary in different ambulatory care settings.
  • Team-based care, including obstetrician–gynecologists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other health care professionals, may facilitate meeting the needs of preventive care for women.
  • A comprehensive history is one of the most important aspects of a well-woman visit.
  • Although components of a physical examination may not be required at a well-woman visit, obstetrician–gynecologists can play a critical role in engaging patients in shared decision making, encouraging and facilitating healthy behaviors, and counseling about a wide array of effective preventive health practices.
© 2018 by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.