Dear Diary,

I thought cute doctors only existed on television. And they’re not even doctors; they’re actors. Personally, I was never examined by someone I would consider dating or someone who was born in the same decade as me. That’s not really by choice, just how things ended up when I received recommendations from family and friends or scheduled appointments through the phone book. Then, I was put in contact with Dr. Joshua Johannson to interview him for my blog. After a quick Google search to help generate topics, I noticed he was nice-looking and wondered how he became an OBGYN. I said to myself, no way would I ever be his patient! But after our conversation, I realized, you can’t judge a book, or a doctor, by its cover. I was actually very comfortable talking to him about the uncomfortable subject of going to the gynecologist. Perhaps more so than a previous female doctor I saw years ago. He has children, has experience, and has a good bedside–or in the case telephone, manner. We talked about what he wished more patients would ask and what’s going through your gynie’s head when he’s examining you.

johannson

What questions do you wish more of your patients would ask?

Ones that are really important. A lot of patients have a fear or a strong concern that you can’t anticipate. Sometimes they don’t express it. It’s not something that everyone has. So, at appointments, general things get answered, but specific questions don’t. For instance, say your aunt or mother died in labor, and you’re terrified that you will die as well. When people are scared, they try to get lots information on their own, but may not ask their OBGYN questions. I would talk to my patient about what’s the realistic chance of her dying. How’s her situation different? Those are personal and specific questions.

Are women uncomfortable at first being that you are a fairly young, attractive, male doctor? Do they ask why you went into this field?

Sometimes my age, or what you perceive my age to be, makes people uncomfortable. People think I’m two years out of college, which isn’t the case. I think if you are uncomfortable with someone, you should visit someone else. Most importantly, you should visit someone who treats you with respect and listens to your concerns/questions. You want someone who takes good care of you, so that negates other stuff like age.

What do doctors think about when they are examining a patient?

Some women refuse to go to a male OBGYN, because they assume it will not be a professional experience. Why is this not true? You’re thinking about the woman’s complaint. It would be very uninteresting to be in my brain during an exam, because I think about very mundane stuff. It’s hard for people to believe, but when you think about it, 99 percent of the time the body is not used for sexual things. All doctors, whether you’re an OBGYN or not, have to deal with the body, and it is completely an unisexual experience. As far as gender goes, the underlining assumption is that all women are alike. That’s erroneous. Some female doctors have never had children, never had cramps or hemorrhage every month. So, you can’t assume a doctor has the same experience just because she is a woman. To assume they understand is a misnomer. As a male, I assume I don’t understand and try to listen to my patients’ experiences.

Why did you decide to become an OBGYN?

At first, I just wanted to be a doctor; then I became interested in becoming an OBGYN. I wanted to do something that had a long-term impact and service. As an OB specifically, I Impact two lives simultaneously. A mother and a child. Also, I like being able to Continuously seeing people. Most doctors only see their patients once or twice whereas I can get attached and say, oh great, so and so is here. I look forward to talking to them. Often, OBGYN waiting rooms are pretty packed, and doctors have a busy schedule and may not spend as much time with you as you would like.

What’s more important: experience or bedside manners? How can patients ensure they get all of their questions answered?

Even if it’s a crazy day, you shouldn’t bring it into the room. It’s the patient’s time, not borrowed time. The problem with having no bedside manner is that if you can’t communicate well, it makes the whole process suffer. So unless it’s a critical situation, you should find someone else with good manners. Experience matters too.

What should a new mom expect at her 6-week postpartum check up?

I want to go over the delivery and make sure there are no problems. If she had a C-section, I’ll look at the incision. If she had a vaginal birth, I’ll examine if she has lacerations. I talk to my patients about breastfeeding and whether or not they are experiencing any type of depression. I also want to know what kind of contraception they are using. People underestimate how easy it is to get pregnant. You can get pregnant again. Sometimes people don’t believe you. They say they’re going to be careful. I’m not sure what that means.

What options do new moms have for birth control? Are they more fertile immediately after giving birth?

It depends a lot on if and how they are breastfeeding. Moms who are exclusively breastfeeding, to the point where they have no menstrual period, they are usually protected. Some moms won’t have a period for a year, but that all depends on how often a child eats. Some patients get on a mini pill. Others opt to use an IUD postpartum. But there’s always a chance you can get pregnant. There’s a thing called 99 percent. I joke and tell patients that there’s only one thing that’s 100 percent safe, and their partners may not like that option.

How long should a women wait after giving birth to have sex? What happens if she doesn’t follow her doctor’s advice regarding this?

You should wait six weeks, because you can get postpartum infections. You’re cervix is wide open, and you have a lot of discharge. We tell people to wait six weeks–definitely wait at least four. Did they have a difficult delivery? They might not be ready at 6 weeks. I like to examine people before they move on to intercourse again. That way, any lacerations are healed.

What are some signs that a woman should find a new OBGYN?

You don’t want to go to someone who is disrespectful or condescending. When looking for an OBGYN, check with their medical peers. Get a recommendation from your physician. You want someone who is board certified.

What advice do you give breastfeeding moms? Should a woman contact her OBGYN or a lactation consultant for help/advice when nursing?

Some OBGYNS are hesitant about giving advice about breastfeeding, so you should ask how knowledgeable they are. I am an advocate, so can answer most questions, but I would say a Lactation consultant is a better person. She would be ideal. Often times, there is a person on hand at your doctor’s office, or they can put you in touch with someone. I will say that before you quit breastfeeding because you’re experiencing problems, you should talk to someone. It could be an obstacle that you can overcome.

Got questions for Dr. Josh? Leave him a note in the comment section. If it’s too personal, email Diary of a First Time Mom, and I’ll make sure he gets the message.   You can tweet Dr. Josh @DrJJohannson 

Dr. Josh currently practices medicine at the Jacksonville State University Student Health Center. 

 

About The Author

Vlog Mom/DFTM Creator

Not long ago, Heather Hopson hosted a television show in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's back home writing a different kind of story as a new mom. In her 15 years working as a professional journalist, this by far is her best assignment! Growing up, she dreamed of becoming Oprah Winfrey. She was the features editor for her school’s newspaper and a teen talk show host for her city’s most popular radio station. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. After graduation, she worked as a television producer and reporter at CBS, NBC and Fox affiliates throughout the U.S. Instead of heading to Chicago to join Ms. Winfrey on her set, she bought a plane ticket to the Cayman Islands instead. She arrived five days before a category five hurricane! She lived in paradise for seven years, hosted an award-winning television show and traveled the globe with a government delegation. She also served on the Board of Directors for Big Sisters Big Brothers and spearheaded a Send a Kid to Camp Campaign. Then, she relocated to Washington, D.C. to obtain a teaching certification and instruct 8th grade reading at a high needs middle school. She later returned to her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA to raise her daughter Caitlynn, now 3-years-old. During her 10-month-stint as a stay-at-home mom, Caitlynn inspired her to create this blog, and Diary of a First Time Mom was born on Mother’s Day 2012. Two years later, she expanded the family to include 40+ writers. Currently, Heather serves as the communications director at Allies for Children. In addition, she is the owner of Motor Mouth Multimedia, which ranked #49 in Startup Nation’s Home-Based 100 Competition sponsored by Discover Card and Sam’s Club. Recently, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments selected Heather to receive an Emerging Black Artist award to develop Diary of a First Time Mom.

  • Jewel H.

    Nobody likes going to the gynie. I waited until age 25 for my first visit (yikes!). Dr. K., highly recommended by many women, was attractive, tall and had broad shoulders. Just my type. But he was married. That and the fact I was so nervous about the exam, it really didn’t matter how he looked.

    Years after I became accustomed to regular visits, he divorced. Sure, I thought about his availability. But flirting while he sat between my legs because my feet were in stirrups would have been awkward to say the least.

    I’ve learned it’s the best idea to date any of your health care professionals. You could lose a good doctor. However, when it comes to my health, I want the best professional I can get. If he’s good looking and I’m wildly attracted to him, I’ll just have to keep it to myself.

    Dr. K. passed away suddenly one day. I’ve been to two gynecologists since then and haven’t felt comfortable with either of them. I’m older now, and if I try another gynie and I’m attracted to him, he’ll likely be older too. I guess I’ll just hope he’s not so old that his hands shake. Ew.

  • Angela

    No one like’s going to any OBGYN at first, It’s scary. But what’s more scary is not going at all!
    Dr. Joshua Johannson was my OBGYN for twelve years, not because of his looks, or age I didn’t even pay attention to any of that. When we met I still had to see four other OBGYN’S to get a feel of who I felt most comfortable with, who I felt listen to me as a person. I picked him to be my primary OBGYN for so many reason’s. He let me talk, he ask question’s, he is caring and everything was always in the best interest of me and my children (3) If I was carring. He cares about his patients, never once did I walk into the room and felt anything but comfortable. He is the best Doctor I ever had, anyone to have Dr. Joshua Johannson as there OBGYN is lucky!

  • Keysha

    I am so grateful to have met Dr. Johanson at a moment in my life where happiness and sorrow collided all too fast. I have to say that I am very familiar with a Dr. who’s simply doing his job and one that cares. One of the qualities that I most appreciated from Dr. Johanson was his patients. I was always able to ask anything (Lord knows there’s not one shy bone in my body)and he always made time to sit down with me and give me the pros and cons. Time and time again I felt that I was not just talking with my OBGYN, but a friend. His looks…..icing on the cake.

  • husband

    i have always thought it to be wrong for a man to be in this line of work. I had an experience where i went with my wife to the doctor. I did not like what i seen, no matter how sterile of an enviroment you think it is, it is still another man penetrating your loved one. I am now completely against my wife ever going to a male for any intimate exam again. I could not eat or sleep for days because i was so depressed with the transaction that took place between my wife and another male(doctor or not). I dont see how anyone could be so cruel as to enter this field if they know how it must make others feel.

    • newmom0608

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Perhaps it was the particular doctor and not the gender. It is a nonsexual experience, but I can imagine that some men would be uncomfortable with the idea of another man having what may be an intimate experience with your loved one. Thankfully, there are lots of doctors to choose from! I’m not sure I understand the use of the word cruel however.