Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Not only am I worried re. last post but I'm in such a state today. For all the 18 months I've been living out in S America, today...I just want to go home... to my local GP. In reality I'm lucky. I have a health plan here and have a lovely Dr (gynae/fertility) who did our fertility treatment outside out health plan (we had to pay) and is now doing all our antenatal care (free) as part of our health plan. He is only ever a phone call away and he is my midwife/early pregnancy unit/first port of call all rolled into one. 
So while I'm not 'missing out' on UK stuff (except freebies) occasional differences make me panic. Like...he wants to do a smear. The one inspection of my ladies bits that was forgotten pre treatment. I am supposed to 'drop in' this afternoon for one, with him. I haven't felt comfortable with it and finally got on google last night. Apart from the usual horror stories 'I had m/c 2 days after smear' (with no dates, history or evidence) there are currently no known contraindications to a smear during pregnancy, according to UK, US, Australia. Best article researched 1900 women. (6 hours of google).
The only arguement not to have one is that cells change so much in pregnancy it throws up false abnormal results and treatment cannot take place during pregnancy anyway so in the UK overdue smears are usually delayed until 3 months post delivery. Also the UK still only recalls women every 3 years (whereas it's more frequent in other countries). One other reason (according to UK/Oz) for testing in pregnancy is that sometimes it's the only time to catch women who do not attend routine smears.
Here, it's once a year, so that's why my Dr feels I need one as my last one (normal) was 18 months ago. I did have a virus in my 20s that suggested annual smears would be a good idea but they've always been fine at 3yrs. I had a cervical polyp removed in Feb (grew due to IVF drugs). Maybe he has other reason, I will grill him today.
I found lots of literature from US and Australia that says it's very routine there to have a smear as part of antenatal care and that it can pick up early signs of changes and infections that may be passed on to a new born via the birth canal.
I don't really know what I'm looking for in a response to this post. I will speak to my Dr and tell him why currently I don't want it done. It just feels hard to turn down something that all the other women in this country have and see as a normal part of their antenatal care. If I was born here all my friends would have had one and I probably would feel guilty turning down this test.
My 12 week scan is looming at the weekend too = stress +++


  1. It's quite hard to hear these heartbreaking stories. Even to people you haven't met for real. Of course you worry more when you are more aware of what can happen. Need the balance of some sort.

    Haven't heard so much about the smear test over here but got to do one shortly after moving to UK. Every third year it is for me.

    Best of luck for your 12week scan!

  2. I guess I don't have any advice except that maybe it's best to follow your gut, because if something did go wrong (which seems to be a tiny possibility) then you would never forgive yourself.

    I seem to recall my last smear (I'm due one actually, thinking about it) and telling the nurse that I was ttc and didn't know if I was pregnant or not. She responded that as all they do is brush the cervix with a little brush, and as it doesn't enter the uterus it was OK. But that was ttc, not 11+ weeks pregnant.

    Good luck at the scan.

  3. I was wondering about this too, as my US pregnancy book (What to Expect) says that they might do a smear as part of your first OB/midwife appointment. So, it must be safe and normal to do them, as you've found online. But I'm pretty sure I had one at the beginning of the year before my 3rd IUI, so I'm also going to the tell the OB that I don't want one (or any other non-essential, invasive tests) at my appt tomorrow.
    As Kat says, go with your instincts, I think :) xx

  4. Hi.. hope all went well with the scan - I've been thinking of you. Saw your comment about my preg book - It's the 'What to Expect when you're Expecting' (4th Edition). I like it because it's very informative without being patronising or overly 'humorous'. xx