Objective: To determine the progression/regression rate of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in pregnancy and to describe the number of patients requiring treatment for cervical neoplasia during or following the pregnancy.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of 305 pregnant women with abnormal cervical cytology was performed. The colposcopic, cytologic and histologic findings of repeated examinations during pregnancy and of the subsequent examination eight weeks postpartum were registered and compared. All smears were obtained by cotton bud and Cytobrush. Colposcopy was performed using standard techniques and cervical biopsies were taken in case of colposcopic abnormalities. Endocervical curettage was omitted during pregnancy. At postpartum evaluation colposcopy, directed biopsies and endocervical curettage were performed in all cases.
Results: One hundred and two patients (33%) were followed only by cytology and colposcopy. The remaining 203 patients (67%) had one to four colposcopically directed biopsies during the pregnancy. Comparing the initial histology in pregnancy to the postpartum histologic evaluation 25% showed spontaneous regression while 75% of the women exhibited progression (28%) or persistence (47%) in the severity of cervical neoplasia. Two patients were treated by cervical conization in early pregnancy and 143 women (53%) were treated within the first year after the pregnancy. In the postpartum period microinvasive carcinoma was diagnosed in two patients, but no women advanced to more serious stages of cervical cancer.
Conclusions: The high persistence rate of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia in pregnancy leads us to recommend a liberal use of colposcopically directed biopsies during pregnancy and to ensure a high follow-up rate in the postpartum period.