Pregnant women

Pregnant women who are due for a Pap test should talk to their doctor about whether they should have the test while pregnant or wait until after the baby is born.

If a woman chooses to have a Pap test after the birth of her baby, it is best to wait 12 weeks as there is an increased rate of unsatisfactory results due to insufficient or inflammatory cells collected on the Pap test that are taken soon after delivery.

However, the early stages of pregnancy can be a good time to have a Pap test, while you are being examined by your doctor for matters relating to your pregnancy. This is particularly the case given that it can be hard to make time for your own health after the birth of a baby.

Pap tests can usually be performed during pregnancy up to at least 24 weeks gestation.

Pap tests have not been associated with increased rates of miscarriage.

Lucy's story

I've always been very aware of the importance of regular Pap tests, as my Mum had early-stage cervical cancer in her 30s.

She encouraged me to start having regular Pap tests when I turned 18 and I followed her advice, albeit begrudgingly!


Cancer Council Helpline