Abnormal Pap Test While Pregnant

Overview

Pregnancy doesn't seem to increase the progression of abnormal cervical cell changes. Having abnormal cervical cell changes or HPV doesn't affect the outcome of the pregnancy. Close monitoring is needed so that you and your health professional can make the best treatment decisions at each stage of the pregnancy.

An abnormal Pap test may be evaluated further with colposcopy. This may be done during pregnancy or after delivery.

If colposcopy shows normal tissue, then a repeat Pap test or colposcopy may be done later. Having a second test depends on the type of abnormalities reported on the first Pap test.

If colposcopy confirms abnormal tissue areas, a cervical biopsy may be done to diagnose the abnormal tissue. It can also make sure that cervical cancer, which is rare, is not present. If a cervical biopsy is needed during pregnancy, it doesn't usually cause problems with the pregnancy. But the risk of bleeding is greater after the first trimester. Cell changes should be monitored during the pregnancy and after delivery. Many minor cell changes return to normal after delivery. Moderate to severe cell changes can often be treated after delivery.

If you have invasive cervical cancer, it must be treated as soon as possible. It's harder to manage because of the concern for the outcome of both you and your baby. Treatment will be managed by a team of health professionals who specialize in cancer and high-risk pregnancies.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: November 22, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kevin C. Kiley MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology