All too often, women are putting their own health on the back burner, prioritizing their kid’s appointments and taking care of their partners. National Women’s Health Week is a great time to remind women that their health is just as important as their loved ones – and scheduling their annual exams can be life saving.

“Getting women in at a younger age reminds them just how important it is to get checked on a regular basis. If someone is ever worried or has concerns then you should see an expert,” said Erin Bane, certified nurse midwife at Windham Hospital.

Once a woman reaches the age of 21, they should start seeing doctors every year for pap smears to check or cancer – especially if they’ve been sexually active, explained Bane. Starting at age 40, it’s recommended that women start getting a mammogram every one to two years.

Even if you have nothing wrong, annual exams serve as a wellness check, where you can touch base with your doctor, address any health issues and talk about preventative measures that can be taken in the future.

For women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, Backus and Windham Hospital offer the full gamut of prenatal and postnatal care to help new or expecting moms navigate through this new chapter. The two hospitals work in concert to offer the best care, close to home, said Sarah Bouchard, director of Women’s Health for Hartford HealthCare’s East Region.

“You can have all of your prenatal care in the Women’s Health Clinic close to home. When it’s time for your baby’s arrival, the doctors and staff at Backus have access to all of your records and work collaboratively with the Windham clinic to provide you with the best care. Following delivery, you can return to the Women’s clinic at Windham for your check up where there is also a lactation consultant available” Bouchard said.

To set up an appointment with one of Windham Hospitals gynecologists, call 860.456.6796.