Can a pap smear detect pregnancy? We discuss gynecological screenings and answer your questions here. 

It’s so important to take interest in routine medical screenings and what they are for. Having an understanding of procedures will make you an empowered patient. You will be in partnership with your care providers for optimal health and well-being. Today, we look at the question, “can a pap smear detect pregnancy?” and break down what to expect from a pap smear, and what it is for.

When it comes to your gynecological health, you may have questions, especially if you are pregnant or trying to conceive. You should always bring questions and concerns about your health to your medical provider.

Dr. Lona Sasser and Dr. Mary Squire-De Leon are highly skilled, compassionate gynecologists in Coral Springs, Florida, who offer an array of services for patients of all ages. 

To make an appointment, you can easily book online or give us a call at (954) 340-1050.

Can a pap smear detect pregnancy?

You came here to get some questions answered. So, can a pap smear detect pregnancy? 

The answer is no. 

A pap smear is a screening test used to detect and prevent cervical cancer, the most common gynecologic cancer. On the other hand, the only way to detect pregnancy is by measuring your human chorionic gonadotropic (HCG) hormone. So your gynecologist cannot use a pap smear to detect pregnancy.

What you need to know about pap smears

A Papanicolaou or “pap” smear is usually a routine part of a pelvic examination at your obgyn’s office. Your “well-woman visit” takes place every year, and includes routine testing and more.

Your well-woman visit includes a physical exam. Usually, this means taking measurements of your weight and height, a blood pressure check, a breast exam, a pelvic exam, and pap smear.

Pap smears won’t happen every time. They are generally recommended every 3 years for women ages 21 to 65, but you should have a comprehensive wellness exam annually.

What do they detect?

The pap smear identifies the presence of abnormal cervical cells.  The presence of abnormal cells may require further testing, follow-up care, or treatment to avoid the development of cancer. Detecting cervical cancer early with a pap smear gives you a greater chance of a cure. 

Here’s what to expect:

With your consent, your doctor will place a speculum inside your vagina to help them see the cervix, the lower, narrow end of your uterus.

A device that resembles a tiny spatula will collect cervical cells, which are then sent to a pathologist to examine under a microscope.

Your doctor should keep you aware of what to expect and tell you what’s coming next and where you will feel their hands and instruments at any point. 

The Pap smear may be combined with a test for human papillomavirus (HPV), the biggest risk factor for developing cervical cancer or genital warts.

In review

Can a pap smear detect pregnancy? Nope. 

But a pap smear can detect changes in your cervical cells that suggest cancer may develop in the future. And, regular pap smear testing puts you at a much lower risk of developing invasive cervical cancer.

Pregnancy tests work by detecting HCG, often called the pregnancy hormone because it is made by cells formed in the placenta. Levels can first be detected by a blood test at your obgyn’s office about 11 days after conception.

Compassionate care 

If you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or just need a doctor for routine visits, choose compassionate care from providers you can trust.

For caring, experienced, and attentive doctors, Lona Sasser Obstetrics and Gynecology is South Florida’s choice. Schedule your appointment today!

Easily book online or give us a call at (954) 340-1050.

 

Photo by tabitha turner on Unsplash

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