Postpartum Body: Pap Smears

Dr. Elizabeth Pryor answers the question, Do I need Pap smears more often after I've given birth?

Question

Should I be having Pap smears more often now that I've given birth to a baby? Is there an increased risk of cervical cancer or uterine cancer after childbirth?

Answer

It's very important for all women to have an annual pelvic exam that includes a Pap smear. Many problems can be treated early if they're diagnosed in a timely fashion -- for example, cervical dysplasia, which if left untreated, can progress to cervical cancer.

You don't have an increased risk of cervical or uterine cancer if you have had a baby. In fact, you are less likely to get certain cancers after having a baby, including ovarian and breast cancer. Even if your Pap smears have all been normal in the past, it's important to continue annual exams after your baby is born so that you may discuss contraceptive choices with your doctor.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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