Advantages of Cervical Screening Test for Pregnancy

STIs like human papillomavirus (HPV) and changes in cervical cells are diagnosed with the cervical screening test. When these changes are not treated, they progress into cervical cancer.

What is Cervical Screening Test?

To test for early signs of a health condition before the appearance of symptoms is called screening. Changes in the cervical cells (the neck of the womb) that can progress to cancer are identified with cervical screening. So, it’s a check for unusual pre-cancerous alterations in the cell that can be treated to prevent cancer. Cervical cancer is highly prevented via cervical screening. About 4,500 lives in England are saved with this screening.

Before now, cervical screening was known as a smear test. In fact, people in the US call it Pap smear.

Using your cell sample, you’ll be tested for some types of HPV that have high risks – a procedure called HPV primary screening. Over 99 per cent of cervical cancers are triggered by HPV. This means that those without HPV infection have zero chances of developing abnormal cells and cervical cancer. So their sample cell won’t undergo further testing.

Where the nurse detects HPV, a check for unusual changes in your cells will be done.

Keep in mind that cervical screening is for asymptomatic women (females without symptoms). Where you have symptoms giving you concerns like pain or discharge from the vagina, or bleeding after sex, consult your GP before a routine screening appointment.

Cervical screening program in United Kingdom

The NHS runs a cervical screening program for women between 25 to 64 years in the UK. Depending on how old you are, you get screened every 3 or 5 years. Patients between the ages of 25 to 49 and registered with a GP get screened every three years, while those aged 50 are screened every five years.

This screening may not necessarily be done at your GP surgery. It can be performed at a private clinic or sexual health clinic.

Presently, doctors don’t recommend cervical screening for women below 25 years. The screening is more effective in women above 25 than those less than this age. Changes in cervical cells are common in younger women and may disappear on their own. So, any unnecessary treatment for these alterations may cause problems in future.

Cervical cancer is not easily noticed in women aged 65 and above if they had normal results from their previous three tests.

Who should get a Cervical Screening Test?

It’s recommended for women sleeping with men or other women (where sexual touch and toys are involved). If you have not engaged in sex, you may decline the screening. However, regular screening is ideal for you, even if your risks are minimal. Tell your GP if you experience any abnormal discharge or bleeding.

If you have had sex in the past but are not having it presently, you still need to get a pap smear test London. The screening will detect HPV, which changes the cervical cells that are responsible for cancer of the cervix. HPV can live in body cells for years even after exposure and bring in abnormal cells in future.

Sexual activities and the use of sex toys can infect you with HPV. Many females contract HPV at a certain stage in their life. A lot of times, your immune system will resist the infection unknown to you.

If you have undergone a hysterectomy, the screening is not for you, except your cervix remained untouched. A vault smear may be recommended for you following the reason for the hysterectomy.

Cervical Screening and Pregnancy

Pregnant women who have undergone normal screening tests can hold off routine screening until three months post-childbirth. However, seek your doctor’s advice.

More testing may be recommended for an abnormal test result after which there was pregnancy. 3 to 6 months during your pregnancy, your doctor may recommend a colposcopy. However, this may be held off until you’ve had your baby. Consult your doctor for the best advice.

Should you have or not have Cervical Screening?

The perks and drawbacks of this screening below can help you decide. The choice is yours. Still not sure? Discuss with your nurse.


  • Every year, about 3,200 women get infected with cervical cancer. This disease is number 4 on the list of cancers common in women. So, screening can detect whether you’ll develop the condition later on.
  • The number of cervical cancer-infected women has reduced by half following the national cervical screening programme. The screening preserves around 4,500 lives annually in England.
  • The HPV virus, which is the basic precursor to cervical cancer, can be detected in screening.


  • A false positive result may be given, where you actually don’t have abnormal cervical cells, yet the test says you do.
  • A false negative result may be given, where you have abnormal cervical cells, yet the test says you don’t.

Getting ready for cervical screening

This screening is good when you are off your period. For cases where you’re bleeding, the test sample will be unclear – you may need a re-test. Cervical screening is best done midway between periods.

Avoid using spermicide, vaginal cream or lubricating jelly 2 days before the test as they contain chemicals that can disturb the screening.

How is Cervical Screening done?

The doctor will use a speculum to open your vagina and, with a brush, get the needed sampleof cells from your cervix at the appointment. It isn’t a painful procedure – you may bleed post-screening. For heavy bleeding, see your GP.

Getting test results

Within two weeks or more, the result of your private smear test will be ready. It can be sent to your home or available at the clinic where you had the screening. Normal test results require routine screening in another 3 or 5 years, depending on your age. Results can be unsatisfactory due to insufficient cells in the sample, probably because of an infection.

What if the test result is Abnormal?

This means any of these three things:

  • You’re HPV-infected, yet your cervical cells are normal. You’ll need a re-test after one year.
  • You’re HPV-infected, yet your cervical cells have mild or borderline changes. You’ll need more tests.
  • You’re HPV-infected but with moderate or severe cervical cell changes. You may need a colposcopy.

Treatments for abnormal cervical cells

  • Colposcopy
  • Loop excision or loop diathermy
  • Laser therapy
  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Cold coagulation

These treatments can either destroy abnormal cells or take out the infected cell area on your cervix. The kind of treatment you get also depends on your test results.


When should I have a smear test?

Patients between the ages of 25 to 49 and registered with a GP get screened every three years, while those aged 50 are screened every five years.

Does the test identify infection?

It checks for changes in cervical cells, but any identified infection will be reported.

Why are there cutoff ages for screening?

The recommended age is between 25 to 64. Below 24, screening can be problematic, while above 64, the screening is less effective.

Do I need cervical screening after getting the HPV vaccine?

Yes, it’s advised.