Cervical screening during pregnancy

A cervical screening test (smear test) is not usually recommended while you're pregnant. This is because pregnancy hormones can make it harder to get clear results.

You'll usually be told to wait until at least 3 months after you've given birth to have your next test.

You can have a screening test if you are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding does not affect your test.

Breastfeeding and cervical screening

If you're trying for a baby

If you are trying to conceive or are going through fertility treatment you can have a cervical screening test.

If you're pregnant and due for a cervical screening test

If you're pregnant when you're invited for cervical screening, talk to your GP or clinic.

If you had abnormal cells in your cervix before, you may need to be screened while you're pregnant.

But you will usually be told to wait and book the test 3 months after your baby is born.

HPV positive or abnormal results while you're pregnant

If your cervical screening results are positive for HPV or find abnormal cells in your cervix, it does not mean you have cancer.

Cervical screening is not a test for cancer, it's a test to help prevent cancer developing.

Depending on the results, you may need:

  • no treatment
  • another cervical screening test in 1 year
  • a colposcopy

A HPV infection or abnormal cells on your cervix will have no effect on your pregnancy or your baby.

Having a colposcopy during pregnancy

A colposcopy is safe to have during pregnancy.

If a colposcopy shows changes to the cells on your cervix, you may need another colposcopy. You'll have this around 3 to 6 months after you give birth. This is to check on the abnormal cells.

It's important to go to all your follow-up appointments, for example a colposcopy, after you've had your baby.

Preparing for a colposcopy

Colposcopy treatment and future pregnancies

Sometimes you'll need treatment to remove the abnormal cells.

Treatment for abnormal cervical cells will not affect your chances of getting pregnant. But you may have more of a risk of a miscarriage or that your baby is born prematurely. This is because treatments that remove small amounts of your cervix can make the neck of the womb weaker.

Tell your doctor or obstetrician (a doctor who delivers babies) about any treatment you had at the colposcopy clinic if you:

  • have had more than 1 treatment
  • are pregnant
  • are considering a pregnancy
  • have had a cone biopsy

The risks of treatment to future pregnancy

The benefits of early treatment and prevention of cervical cancer outweigh any risks.

Page last reviewed: 19 December 2022
Next review due: 19 December 2025