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When Do You Have Pap Smear After Having a Baby?

author image Sara Ipatenco
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.
When Do You Have Pap Smear After Having a Baby?
A Pap smear can be used as a cancer diagnostic tool. Photo Credit: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

A Pap smear is a medical procedure that involves a doctor using a swab to obtain cells from your cervix. The procedure tests the cells of your cervix to check for abnormalities that could indicate cancer. Most women have a Pap smear once a year, though that timetable might change slightly if you're pregnant or if you've just given birth. Having a baby does not exempt you from a Pap smear, but you should wait until the time is right after giving birth.

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Step 1

Ask your doctor about your risk factors. If you've never had an abnormal Pap smear, you might be able to wait two to three years, according to the American Pregnancy Association. That's two to three years from the date of your last Pap smear, however, and not from the date of your baby's birth.

Step 2

Call your doctor about six to eight weeks after your baby's birth to see whether you need to schedule a Pap smear. If it's been more than a year since your previous Pap smear or if you've had abnormal results in the past, your doctor will probably want to perform the test, because, according to the American Pregnancy Association, a Pap smear once a year is standard. Bleeding, such as when you have your period, can interfere with the accuracy of a Pap smear, according to the website for PubMed. You would wait the six to eight weeks, however, because postpartum bleeding is quite common following delivery, and it can interfere with the accuracy of the Pap smear results just like a normal period can.

Step 3

Wait until your period returns. According to the American Pregnancy Association, the optimal time to have a Pap smear is about 10 to 20 days after the first day of your last period. Your doctor might hold off on performing the Pap smear until you've had at least one period so he can schedule it at the best time to get the most accurate results.

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