Q: My husband has a terrible history of avoiding doctors. He tells me he'll make an appointment for a physical and then he never does. This has always gotten me angry. Now that I'm pregnant I find it unacceptable. He is a 36-year-old man with no significant health problems, but he needs to start making smarter choices. How can I convince him to get a physical exam this year?
A: Thankfully, your husband is still young.
I'm in full agreement with you -- meeting with your primary care physician, if for no other reason than to obtain an ongoing physical health record, is important.
In communicating your feelings to your husband, the best strategy is to lay down several salient points based on reason, and deliver them calmly. Obviously, easier said than done!
Here are the tips:
1. Explain to him that you feel it's the responsibility of an expectant parent to monitor his/her physical health, for the benefit of the family. Not attending annual doctor visits is childish. It's time to be a grown-up.
2. Identify the significant risk in allowing large time gaps to fall between physical examinations. You don't want seemingly insignificant physical issues turning into major health problems. Going in for yearly checkups is an effective preventive health measure.
3. Acknowledge that he may be afraid to see a physician. People often avoid doctors because they are scared of what might be uncovered. While this should not deter one from making an appointment, it is a justifiable concern.
4. Concern may plague you if he's smoking cigarettes, lacks the motivation to do regular exercise, has poor eating habits or is abusing alcohol/drugs. Additionally, if the men in his family have a history of significant medical problems at early ages, it makes your worry even more relevant and regular assessments of physical health by a primary care physician increasingly important.
Your husband may not be convinced overnight to make changes. However, hopefully with time, he'll begin to understand the overwhelming benefits of preventative medical care.
Congratulations on the baby, and let me know how this "parenting thing" turns out.
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Have a profitable and peaceful week,
Originally posted on thestreet.com