Pregnancy after cone biopsy
I need to have a cone biopsy. My GP says this won't stop me getting pregnant in the future, but will I be more likely to have problems during the pregnancy?
A cone biopsy is a small operation to remove an area of abnormal cervical cells or very early cervical cancer. The surgeon cuts a cone shaped bit of tissue out of the neck of the womb (the cervix).
Your GP is right that you can get pregnant after this type of treatment. It will not usually affect your fertility or the beginning of a pregnancy. However there is a very, very small chance that the cervix can become so tightly closed after cone biopsy that sperm cannot get in at all. This is called cervical stenosis. If this happened (though remember this is rare), you would not be able to get pregnant naturally. If you have periods after a cone biopsy you have not got complete cervical stenosis. If the lining of the womb can get out, when it is shed as a period, then sperm can get in.
Sometimes cone biopsy can weaken the cervix. So later in your pregnancy, when the baby is getting bigger and heavier, there may be a tendency for the cervix to begin to open, or for your waters to break, early. To stop this happening, some doctors put a sort of running stitch around the cervix to support it and hold it together. You may have an ultrasound scan early in pregnancy to see how much cervical tissue is left, and whether a stitch is necessary. The surgeon will take the stitch out at about 37 weeks into the pregnancy, before you go into labour.
If you don't need a stitch, your doctor may just keep a close eye on you and recommend that you rest a lot towards the end of your pregnancy. You may even need to stay resting in bed. Sometimes scarring after a cone biopsy may prevent the cervix dilating normally during labour. A caesarian section may then be necessary.
Researchers have looked at all the published studies into the effects of the treatment of abnormal cervical cells (called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia or CIN) or Stage 1A cervical cancer and published their findings as a systematic review. They found that some treatments can lead to a small risk of complications in future pregnancies. Women who had a cone biopsy were slightly more likely to have their babies born before 37 weeks. And the risk of low birthweight (less than 2.5 kg) was a bit higher. There was also an increase in the number of births by caesarian section for women who had cone biopsy.
You may feel worried about these risks, but do bear in mind
- The risk of developing serious side effects during pregnancy is small
- If you have cervical abnormalities, having the recommended treatment is very important
- Your doctor will talk through all the treatment options with you, and discuss any risks and side effects, including effects on future pregnancies
Rated 4 out of 5 based on 27 votes
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team