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A Pelvic Exam and a Pap Smear

When a woman believes she might be pregnant, the quickest way to find out is via a urine test, either at the doctor’s office or by purchasing an over-the-counter pregnancy test from a drug store. Once a woman confirms she is pregnant she should make an appointment with her doctor or midwife for a pelvic exam and pap smear.

Once a woman is about six weeks pregnant, or four weeks after conception, a doctor can tell if she is pregnant by doing a pelvic exam. In the pelvic exam, the doctor will check for the size of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus, and can tell by the size how far the pregnancy has developed. During the pelvic exam, the doctor will also check the cervix for a hint of blue coloring which appears when a woman is pregnant.

At one of the first appointments during the first trimester a woman will also be given the option of having a pap smear done. Pap smears are recommended once every 12 months for women, but are not generally done after the first trimester, and then not again until about six weeks after your baby is born. A pap smear is done by a doctor taking a sample of the cells around the outer edge of the cervix to test for precancerous cells. If caught early enough cervical cancer can often be avoided.

Some women who have recently had a pap smear done or have a history of miscarriages or problems during pregnancy will turn down a pap smear, which can irritate the cervix. If you are unsure about whether or not you should have a pap smear, tell your doctor about your history and ask his or her opinion on the subject.

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