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A colposcopy is an examination of the cervix (neck of the womb) using a colposcope. This looks like a pair of binoculars on a stand. It does not go inside you, but allows the doctor or nurse to see the cervix in more detail. The examination will take place in the colposcopy clinic at your local hospital.

A colposcopy can be done safely during pregnancy. However, if you need treatment, this is usually postponed until 12 weeks after the end of your pregnancy.

A colposcopy can be done if you have a coil (IUD). There is a small risk that a coil might need to be removed at your appointment. You should either not have sex, or use another contraceptive method (e.g. condoms) for at least seven days before your appointment.

You will be referred to the colposcopy clinic if you have been found to have an abnormal or inadequate smear.

Colposcopy is a part of the NHS Cervical Screening (CSW) Wales Programme which helps to reduce the number of women developing cervical cancer.

Appointments are arranged for you either through Cervical Screening Wales or your GP. Treatment may be offered at your first visit if appropriate.

You may wish to be accompanied to the appointment by a relative, partner or friend.

A leaflet that details the procedure is sent with the appointment letter.