Sexually active women should have regular Pap smears to check for cervical cancer and other abnormalities, according to both the American Pregnancy Association and the Baby Center. Sometimes doctors order Pap smears as a part of prenatal care during pregnancy just to make sure everything is okay with the expectant mom’s reproductive system. The risks associated with having Pap smears during pregnancy are extremely low, but sometimes bleeding occurs after these types of pelvic exams.
Function During the Exam
A doctor will usually swab your cervical area with a long device to check for potentially cancerous cells, according to KidsHealth. Most women don’t experience pain during a Pap smear, even while expecting a child.
Typical Causes of Bleeding
If you’re bleeding after a Pap smear, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having a miscarriage, according to both the American Pregnancy Association and the Baby Center. Increased blood flow to the cervix, which is thinner during pregnancy, or a harmless polyp grazed during a Pap smear can cause bleeding after the exam. If your cervix becomes inflamed from a Pap smear, recent sexual intercourse or an untreated yeast infection, you can also bleed lightly as a result.
Bleeding from a Pap smear or at any other point during pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean that something is seriously wrong with you or your baby, according to both the American Pregnancy Association and the Baby Center. However, bleeding from the fetus implanting itself or after a Pap smear usually resembles “spotting” more so than menstrual blood.
Potentially Serious Bleeding
If you bleed profusely after a Pap smear or at any other point during your term, you need prompt medical help, according to the Baby Center. Miscarriages, especially during the first weeks of pregnancy, are usually identified through clot-like blood passing from the vagina and severe cramps. Heavy bleeding and pain also could indicate an ectopic pregnancy that cannot safely continue; ectopic, or tubal, pregnancies result in the fetus growing in a fallopian tube rather than the uterus. Untreated miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies can result in infertility and even death.
Abnormal Pap Smears
Your Pap smear can turn up abnormal during pregnancy, which may or may not indicate cervical cancer, according to the American Pregnancy Association. A similar procedure to biopsy the cervix, which does not harm the baby but may also cause light bleeding, may be required. If you are pregnant and have cervical cancer, you and your doctor can discuss whether you can safely wait until after giving birth to start treatment.
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