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Even if you’ve had a pap smear before, you might not be familiar with everything you should and shouldn’t do before you see your gynecologist. For instance, you shouldn’t schedule your appointment for the week that you’re expecting your period. You also shouldn’t have sex for at least 24—but preferably 48—hours beforehand, as this can interfere with the results.

Watch this video for other important tips. A doctor featured here explains that grooming doesn’t matter, but the use of feminine products does. Avoid douching, and avoid using any creams or spermicidal foams.

Washington Surgi-Clinic provides pap smears in our clinic in Washington, D.C., as well as a full range of other gynecology services. Call (202) 659-9403 to request an appointment.