From Spotting to Sex to Braxton Hicks

Answers to 7 questions you'll probably have during your pregnancy.


I just found out I'm pregnant and I'm having some weird brown discharge. Am I having a miscarriage?

Probably not. Your cervix is probably just getting organized to seal up shop while it is under construction. It's kicking out any old blood and mucous that was hanging around and creating new discharge material that will keep your uterus safe and sound for the job ahead. Consider it cervical house cleaning.

I'm having some spotting and I'm in my first trimester. Am I having a miscarriage?

Probably not. About 20 - 30 percent of women bleed a little in early pregnancy and only half of those go on to miscarry. Approximately 15 – 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (and 80 – 85 percent do not) though many happen before women even know they're pregnant. Common causes for bleeding are: hormone changes, implantation bleeding and cervical irritation.

I had sex last night and now I'm seeing some weird discharge and a few flecks of blood. Am I having a miscarriage?

Probably not. See the previous two questions. Your cervix is super sensitive and filled with extra circulation (full blood vessels) during pregnancy. A little bumping around in there can easily cause a little spotting after sex.

Is it OK to have sex when I'm pregnant?

Sure, go for it, as long as you don't have any complications that require pelvic rest (meaning: no sex, tampons, or any kind of extra activity in your girl parts). Your midwife or doctor will let you know if you're not supposed to be "doing it." If they haven't mentioned it and you're not having any problems, then by all means, enjoy yourself. In fact, having sex while pregnant is extra fun for a lot of women since hormones, swollen breasts and genitals, and extra-sensitive skin make everything feel better. If, on the other hand, you just feel gross and you're not into it (thanks to a flagging libido) don't worry – that's normal too.

I heard that orgasms cause contractions. Is that true?

Well, kind of. There are contractions and then there are contractions. The kind you have during orgasm aren't the same as the ones you'll have during labor. Too bad, right?

Why did my nipples change color during my pregnancy?

Hormones, hormones, hormones...they work all kinds of magic during pregnancy. That color change is due to extra circulation to the breasts and Mother Nature's way of making it easy for your baby to hit the bulls-eye (your nipple) while he/she learns to breastfeed. Newborns can see dark and light patterns more easily than anything else, and a dark nipple against relatively lighter skin makes it simpler for your baby to latch on. Most women find that their nipples return to their pre-pregnancy color within a few months after delivery or after they're finished breastfeeding.

How will I know the difference between the Braxton Hicks contractions I've been having for weeks and the real thing?

Oh honey, you'll know. Believe'll just know. But just in case you need more information, I write a lot about contractions and the stages of labor in chapter ten of my book, The Complete Illustrated Birthing Companion. Everything you need to know to tell the difference, to know when to check in with your midwife or doctor and how to deal with labor pain is in there. Bottom line? You'll just know.

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? E-mail it to

This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.