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Sexual health advice

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Woman with her head in hands
Sexual health problems can be embarrassing and difficult to get answers to - whether it's a pregnancy scare, an STI problem, contraception worries or something else.

To help answer some of your most common questions, we've talked to sexual health experts Marie Stopes International.


1. How quickly will I notice signs of pregnancy?

Some women notice symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea and breast tenderness shortly after missing a period, but however there are no reliable physical signs of pregnancy within a few days of having unprotected sex.

If you have bleeding within a couple of days of sex go to your GP or GUM clinic, because it may be a sign of infection and bleeding between periods should always be checked out.

You are always at risk of pregnancy if you've had unprotected sex - you can take the emergency contraceptive pill - also know as the 'morning after pill' - up to 72 hours afterwards or have an IUD - intra uterine device or 'coil' - fitted up to 5 days after by a trained medical professional.

2. I've had a funny-coloured discharge and haven't had a period. Could I be pregnant?

Normal vaginal secretions that all women have may increase and become thicker during pregnancy, but aren't a reliable method of diagnosing a pregnancy.

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Vaginal discharges that seem unusual - especially if they smell bad - should be checked out because they may be a sign of infection which can always be treated. If you think you're pregnant the only sure way to know is to do a pregnancy test - if it's negative to repeat it 2 weeks later to confirm.

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