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What if I am pregnant and my Pap smear shows dysplasia?

Dysplasia means abnormal (pre-cancerous) cells of the cervix. The most common cause is HPV (human papilloma virus), a sexually transmitted virus that can be dormant in your body for many years before showing symptoms.

A Pap smear is a screening test. It shows who is at risk for dysplasia, but does not make the diagnosis. A colposcopy and biopsies are needed to find out who actually has dsyplasia. This involves looking at the cervix through a magnifying scope and remove tiny pieces of the abnormal areas so the pathologist can look at them under the microscope. Only the pathologist can make the actual diagnosis.

If abnormal cells are identified, they can be easily treated by freezing or laser.

Dysplasia can be mild, moderate or severe. Unless the dysplasia is severe, most doctors will wait until after the baby is born before doing a colposcopy.

Dysplasia has no effect on pregnancy and does not affect the baby.

If you have HPV, as most women with dysplasia do, it can be transmitted to the baby during delivery, but that is not common. If the baby gets HPV it can develop warts on the vocal cords. This can be treated.