Pregnancy and your period – how does it work?
It’s important to understand how your period and pregnancy co-exist. We’ll give you the basics on what to expect the two big Ps in a woman’s life.
Can you get pregnant on your period?
Yes, you can get pregnant at pretty much any time. Including when you’re on your period. This isn’t common, but it does happen.
If your period is late and you’ve had sexual intercourse it could mean that you’re pregnant, even if you’ve used birth control. No birth control is 100 per cent effective. To find out for sure, take a pregnancy test, which you can get without a prescription from a pharmacy. You can take the test any time from the first expected day of your period.
Will you still have periods when you start pregnancy?
Once you’ve done a pregnancy test and it’s positive, however, can you then have your period and still be pregnant? Well yes, in a sense – or so it may seem.
At the beginning of a pregnancy, you can get some bleeding or ‘spotting’ – often at the time you would normally have your next period. This is not the same thing as menstruation, however. It is actually implantation bleeding, and it happens when an embryo buries itself into the wall of your womb.
Of course, if you don’t know you’re pregnant, this bleeding can be misinterpreted as a period, as it can look and seem confusingly similar.
Will your periods continue throughout your pregnancy?
Actual periods do not occur throughout your pregnancy. That’s because when you become pregnant the womb retains its lining to support the baby, rather than shedding it as it does when the egg remains unfertilized.
Any spotting you do have while pregnant, should be checked out by your doctor or gynaecologist, as it could be a sign of other issues. While it doesn’t always mean there’s a problem, it definitely needs to be looked into.
Is having pregnancy discharge normal?
Almost all women experience more vaginal discharge when pregnant than before – it serves the purpose of preventing infections from travelling up from the vagina into the womb. Towards the end of your pregnancy, you can expect even more discharge! In the last week or so it may contain streaks of sticky, jelly-like pink mucus. This is nothing to worry about, as it’s simply a signal that your body is preparing for birth.
Speak to a midwife if your pregnancy discharge smells unpleasant or strange, is green or yellow, you feel itchy or sore around your vagina or you have pain when you pee. These could be symptoms of a vaginal infection.
The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.