An unexpected pregnancy can be a stressful experience. If you’re worried you might be pregnant, Fumble’s here with some helpful information
If you think you’re pregnant you may feel surprised, happy, or sad. All feelings are normal and valid. No matter how you’re feeling, there’s a lot to think about, so here’s a handy step-by-step guide to help you make a decision on your next steps.
But first things first – how do I get pregnant?
Sometimes young people think they’re pregnant, but they haven’t actually had the type of sex that can lead to pregnancy.
You can’t get pregnant from kissing, touching, or oral sex. You can only get pregnant if semen from a penis comes into direct contact with the vagina. This may occur if you have penis-in-vagina sex without using contraception or if your contraception failed, such as the condom breaking.
There’s a lot more to say about the realities of getting pregnant, which we will tackle another time. If you’re looking for more detail right now, check out the NHS website.
The emergency contraceptive pill (EC pill)
It’s important to remember that time matters in determining whether or not you might be pregnant. It can be a few weeks after having unprotected sex before you will be able to tell if you are pregnant.
This means that if you had unprotected sex in the last couple of days, you can still take steps to prevent a pregnancy – if that’s what you want.
If your contraception failed or you had unprotected sex in the last five days, you can normally prevent pregnancy by taking emergency contraception – often referred to as the ‘morning after pill’. This works by preventing or delaying ovulation, which reduces the possibility of a pregnancy.
There are two types to choose from: Levonelle or ellaOne. Levonelle can be taken within three days of having unprotected sex and ellaOne can be taken within five days of having unprotected sex.
Some doctors and GUM clinics are also able to fit an intrauterine device (IUD) as an emergency contraceptive measure.
However, the sooner you take an emergency contraceptive, the more effective it will be – so if you don’t want to be pregnant, you should look into this as soon as possible.
The most common first sign of a pregnancy is a missed period. So, if you’ve had unprotected penis-in-vagina-sex, and then missed your period, you may be pregnant.
It’s very unlikely, but there is a small chance you could fall pregnant even if you took the emergency pill (as it is not 100% effective) so be sure to take a pregnancy test if you’re worried about a missed period.
You can buy pregnancy tests from most pharmacies, or you can go to your doctor or a GUM clinic to get a pregnancy test.
It’s best to take the test three weeks after unprotected sex, or once your period is late, to get an accurate result.
If the test displays a negative result, you probably aren’t pregnant. Pregnancy hormones develop over time, so you’re still worried, you can do another test a week later to check the result.
If you get a positive result, you are almost definitely pregnant. False positives can occur, but they are highly unlikely.
If you’re pregnant, we recommend that you make an appointment with a GP to discuss your options.
You’re pregnant: what can you do?
If you’re pregnant, you have several options to choose from:
- Parenting: continue the pregnancy, give birth, and raise the child
- Adoption: continue the pregnancy, give birth, and give the child to someone else
- Abortion: end the pregnancy
Deciding what to do may be difficult and take some time, and this is totally ok. You’re not alone, and there is plenty of support and advice on hand to help you make a decision. It’s important that you consider all your options, so talking to your friends, family, and health care professionals may help.
It may seem scary to talk to your parents about your pregnancy, but it may also be really helpful. Some parents will be upset or shocked, while others will be understanding. Often parents become more understanding with time, and can be a really helpful support for you.
Ultimately it is your choice to decide what to do next, and no one should feel pressure to make a certain decision. You know what is the best option for you, and whatever you decide is the right choice.