We examined the relationship between the frequency of premalignant lesions of the cervix and location of the transformation zone on the cervix among 8758 women as assessed using cervicography. An endo- and exocervical smear test was performed at the same time. Women with smear test classified CIN I or more were recalled and any abnormal area was biopsied under colposcopy. The transformation zone was located on the exocervix in 94% of women younger than 25 years old; as age increased, the proportion of women with a transformation zone located on the exocervix steadily decreased to reach less than 2% after 64 years old. As compared with women having a transformation zone in the endocervical canal, the age-adjusted likelihood of discovering a histologically proven dysplastic lesion was 1.8 times more frequent among women with a transformation zone located on the exocervix (95% confidence interval 1.1-2.9). This higher frequency seemed not attributable to a lower sensitivity of the smear test when the transformation zone was hidden. The results also showed that deliveries tended significantly to maintain the transformation zone on the exocervix. Parity is a known risk factor for cervix cancer, but the mechanism by which it favours malignant lesions remain unknown. Our results suggest that with increasing numbers of livebirths, the transformation zone is directly exposed for longer periods to external agents involved in dysplastic lesions.