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Cervical smears and pregnancy

Published: 24/12/2013

In the UK, cervical cancer is very rare. To reduce the risk of developing cancer even further, women are offered regular testing to detect changes in the cervix (neck of the womb) at a stage before they become cancerous. The sample that is taken from the cervix is known as a smear test. If your smear test is abnormal, you may be referred for an investigation called a colposcopy, which is a more detailed look at the cervix.

Most women in the UK start having smears by the age of 25. Therefore it is not unusual to be called for a smear test or to be asked to attend colposcopy during pregnancy.

This information is for you if:

  • You’re unsure whether you should have your smear or attend colposcopy while you’re pregnant
  • You’ve had an abnormal smear result and then discovered you’re pregnant
  • You’ve had treatment in the past for an abnormal smear, and are pregnant or are considering having a baby

This patient information leaflet is based on the British Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (BSCCP) NHS Guidelines for Colposcopy and Programme Management, and on the RCOG guideline: Diagnosis and Management of Ectopic Pregnancy (Green-top Guideline No. 21; Joint with the Association of Early Pregnancy Units).

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