Pre-marital exams may seem intimidating to brides-to-be, but they are important and can go more smoothly than you might expect.

Pre-marital exams are full physical exams with the purpose of preparing a bride-to-be for a sexual relationship.

“Marriage is the deepest and, potentially, the most gratifying of all human relationships, but it is also one of the most demanding.” said David Mace, a marriage counselor and self-help book author. Unfortunately couples seldom have more preparation than a little advice from their parents and a new set of china.”

According to BYU’s Forever Families site, more than 90 percent of college students say they believe marriage preparation is important, but only 35 percent intend to formally prepare.

A bride-to-be can receive a pre-marital exam at the BYU-I Student Health Center.

Nurses at the center encourage brides to schedule a pre-marital exam three to four months before the wedding date.

Even if you can’t schedule one that early, still schedule an appointment.

“It’s important to see if there are any problems with your body before you get married so the doctor can help you solve them,” said Shante Holbrook, a junior studying administrative assistance. “The doctors can also answer any questions you may have.”

Fiances are not allowed to come with the women into the pre-marital exam.

Before the appointment, a patient will sit down and review a PowerPoint about birth control options and other things that are addressed in the appointment.

During the appointment, the nurse will discuss medical history, including medications and chronic conditions. The nurse will perform a full physical, checking skin, breasts, stomach and lymph nodes. There will also be a vaginal exam.

Women often wonder how to stop and start birth control and what kind to use. Brides should discuss birth control with their husbands.

The birth control pill is the most common form of birth control, and a physician can help a bride-to-be decide which pill will best fit her needs.

Women who forget to take pills may consider more permanent options, like the NuvaRing or the Ortho Evra patch, which is applied once a week. Non-hormonal methods include Paraguard IUD, diaphragms and condoms.

Couples preparing for marriage may consider getting LDS literature on sexual intimacy so they feel ready for their wedding night.

Both the man and the woman should feel comfortable discussing concerns with each other.