Any type of bleeding or cramping during pregnancy can cause you to worry since those are signs of a miscarriage. If it happens after a pap smear, it may seem that the doctor did something wrong, but it’s actually quite normal to have some spotting and cramping after a pap smear.
The pap smear looks for changes in cells around your cervix, which could indicate a higher than normal chance of getting cervical cancer. The doctor will swab some cells around the cervix and send them to a lab for analysis. Current recommendations are for women to receive a pap smear every two years. If it’s been longer since you’ve had a pap smear, your doctor may perform one during your first pregnancy visit.
Why You May Bleed
During your pregnancy, there is increased blood flow to the cervix. When the doctor swabs your cervix, it’s irritating, which can increase the blood flow even more. This can cause slight spotting. You may also have a small polyp in the cervical area, which can burst during the exam.
There is no danger to having a pap smear during your pregnancy. Many doctors include it as a routine procedure. At the beginning of your pregnancy–when your doctor will perform the pap–your cervix is not near where your baby is protected in your uterus.
Cramping and bleeding should last two to three days. The bleeding you experience should be quite light, requiring only a panty liner. It will most likely be somewhat brown in color.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Though some levels of cramping and spotting after your pap smear are normal, you should contact your doctor if you experience severe cramping or if the blood flow is heavy and bright red. These could be signs of a miscarriage, though it is unlikely that it is a result of the miscarriage.
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