When you go to a free clinic to get birth control, do you have to be examined by a doctor before you can get it? – Dariya* Not always. Until recently, women expected to have a pelvic exam before a doctor would prescribe any kind of birth control. Now experts agree that a physical exam is not always necessary before starting birth control. Even though an exam is no longer required, it's a good idea in some cases. Some of the reasons why doctors or nurse practitioners do a physical exam before prescribing birth control are: If a girl has pelvic or abdominal pain. If a girl has abnormal vaginal discharge or abnormal bleeding. If a girl thinks she has a sexually transmitted disease (STD). If these don't apply to you, let the clinic or doctor's office know that you don't want an exam when you make your appointment. *Names have been changed to protect user privacy. Back to Articles Related Articles STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself. Read More Gyn Checkups Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams. Read More About Birth Control Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to get the basics on birth control. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.