How to Get Better Care 37
In order to know what is wrong with you and how serious
your problem is, you may need an examination. Most exams
include looking at, listening to, and feeling the part of your body
where the problem is. For most problems you need to undress
only that part of your body. If you would feel more comfortable,
ask a friend or female health care worker to be in the room with
you during the exam.
Tests can give more information about a health problem.
Many tests are done by taking a small amount of urine, stool, or
coughed-up mucus and sending it to a laboratory. Or, a needle
is used to take a small amount of blood from your finger or
arm. Other common tests include:
• taking some fluid from your vagina to test for sexually
transmitted infections (STIs).
• scraping cells from the opening of your womb (cervix) to
test for cancer. (This is called a Pap test. See page 378.)
• taking tissue from a growth to test for cancer (biopsy).
• using X-rays or ultrasound to see inside your body. X-rays
may be used to find broken bones, severe lung infections,
and some cancers. Try not to be X-rayed during pregnancy.
Ultrasound can be used during pregnancy to see the baby
inside your womb. Neither of these tests causes any pain.
Before you have any test, discuss the cost. Ask the doctor,
nurse, or health worker to explain what he or she will learn
from the test, and what would happen if the test was not done.
➤ X-rays are safe if
they are used properly.
A lead apron should
be used to protect
Bring a friend or family member
Many people feel worried about seeking medical
care—even for illnesses that are not serious. And
when a person is sick, it can be even harder for them
to demand the care they need. If another person can
go along, it can help.
A friend can:
• watch the woman’s children.
• help think of questions to ask, remind the woman to
ask them, and make sure they are answered.
• answer questions if the woman is too sick to talk.
• keep the woman company while she waits.
• stay with the woman while she is being examined,
to support her and make sure the doctor acts in a
I am her mother.
I can answer some
of your questions.
If a woman is very sick,
someone who can give
information should go with her.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012