@ElizaBennett - I don't necessarily disagree with you about postponing that postpartum pap smear test, but women who have had an abnormal result in the past or who know they have HPV might feel more comfortable going ahead and getting it done - something to discuss with your provider.
I didn't realize that using tampons could cause an abnormal result! But I've heard it's better not to go during your period anyway, as *that* can cause a weird result, so I guess you shouldn't be using tampons anyway! My doctor also said no douching or even taking a bath for 24 hours before - I don't know how typical that advice is. He may be over-cautious, or maybe they all say that.
I try to schedule my exams for right in the middle of my menstrual cycle. At that time, your cervix is softer and better lubricated, so the exam is not as uncomfortable.