Pap Smears at The Birth Center
One of the most well-known reasons for coming to your annual well-woman visit is the pap smear! But what is it? And why is it important?
A pap smear, also known as a pap test, is a screening exam for cervical cancer. This exam tests for the presence of cancerous or precancerous cells on the cervix. You should receive your first pap smear around the age of 25, although the exam should be done sooner depending on your risk factors.
Your Cervix is the opening of the uterus. During a pap your Midwife will gently collect cells from your cervix to be sent out to a lab to be examined for abnormal growth. The process should not be painful. With a pap you will also be screened for HPV which is the virus that may cause cervical cancer. At The Birth Center, pap smears are covered by most insurances including Medicaid.
How to prepare for a pap smear:
Avoid sexual activity a few days leading up to your appointment and avoid using spermicide products due to contamination of the exam. Make sure you are calm, relaxed, and take deep breaths in order to have the exam be comfortable and ease your visit.
What happens at the visit with your midwife:
It is important to know that pap smears are fairly quick. The Midwife will have you step onto the exam table and lie on your back with your bottom as close to the edge as possible. She will then ask you to have your legs spread and your feet on the stirrups for support. Your midwife will then have you take a deep breath and insert a speculum into your vagina. The speculum is a device that helps keep the vaginal walls open and gives access to your cervix. She will then collect a small sample of the cells from your cervix with a spatula, brush, or both. You may feel slight pressure and irritation. Some women experience slight spotting after the exam. This is where the Midwife will insert the sample into a liquid, swish it around, cap it and send it to the lab to be examined.
The test can take up to three weeks to be completed. You will receive a call with your results from either the midwife or our Birth Center nurse. If your pap smear comes back abnormal, your midwife will contact you and walk you through the next steps.
If you have more questions in regards to pap smears and your annual exam call us today.
Schedule your annual with your Birth Center midwife by calling the office at 302-658-2229.