The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) have issued new patient information for pregnant women invited for their routine smear test. They recommend that they should delay the procedure until after the baby is born.
However, there are specific circumstances when women should still attend their cervical smear or colposcopy test whilst pregnant. If a woman is called for a repeat smear following a previous abnormal smear test result, they should attend. The advice states that this should ideally be done between three and six months of pregnancy and attending these appointments should also depend on the severity of the abnormality.
RCOG also advise that women who are called for a routine smear test during pregnancy should let their GP know they are delaying it so they can be invited again at a later date.
Following treatment for an abnormal smear, most women will go on to have a successful and healthy pregnancy, however there is a small risk of preterm birth, depending on the treatment the woman has received.
Chair of the RCOG’s Patient Information Committee, Philippa Marsden, said that women were often unsure whether they should go ahead with a smear test or colposcopy during pregnancy. She said “This new patient information is designed to clarify when it is important to attend and when it is alright to put it off until after the baby is born. Women may also be concerned about future pregnancies if they have had treatment and we thought it would be useful to cover this as well in the leaflet.”
Chair of the RCOG Women’s Network, Cath Broderick, added: “This information is written in an accessible way and covers many of the questions women will have. The table explaining whether it is necessary to attend colposcopy is particularly helpful. This new information aims to answer any questions about treatment options and safety concerns.”