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Teen Pregnancy

Updated on 10/5/2011 02:16:43 PM

How to Prevent a Pregnancy

  • Abstinence
    Choose to abstain from sexual intercourse. This is the only 100% effective way to prevent a pregnancy.
  • Contraception
    Contraception is methods of protection that aid in preventing pregnancy. The effectiveness of each method varies and effectiveness is based on proper use every time. A latex, polyurethane or female condom are the only methods that help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Emergency Contraception
    Emergency contraception pills (Plan B) are two pills taken within 120 hours of having unprotected sex (i.e. without birth control, birth control fails or when forced to have sex) that prevent pregnancy. Plan B is between 75% and 89% effective in preventing pregnancy. Plan B is available without a prescription for men and women ages 18 and older at various pharmacies. A prescription is necessary for men and women age 17 and under.

How Does Pregnancy Occur

Pregnancy occurs when a male and female have sexual intercourse and the male ejaculates semen from his penis into the females vagina. Semen is the white, sticky fluid that contains sperm, which can fertilize a female's egg.

Next, the sperm travels through the female's vagina, passes through her cervix and uterus and then into her fallopian tubes where an egg may sit after being released from the ovaries.

If the female has recently ovulated, then sperm fertilizes the egg and causes a pregnancy. The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube and plants itself in the uterus. Once this has happened, pregnancy has taken root.

If the egg and sperm fail to unite, then the egg dies. Without a pregnancy in place, the lining of the uterus, which is composed of blood cells, sheds. This process of shedding is called menstruation.

Yes, You Could Be Pregnant If...

  • you have had unprotected vaginal intercourse
  • you have used contraception improperly or inconsistently while having vaginal intercourse
  • your partner’s semen has spilled near your vulva

Note: Anal sex and oral sex cannot result in pregnancy.  However, these interactions can result in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

If semen entered your vagina within the last five days, emergency contraception is still an option (more information on emergency contraception also called Plan B). Note that Plan B works by preventing pregnancy by stopping the release of an egg (ovulation), preventing the union of sperm and egg (fertilization), or preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation).  For more information from the FDA, click here. 

Signs of Pregnancy

  • Missed or Light Period
  • Fatigue
  • Breast Soreness or Tenderness
  • Frequent Urination
  • Nausea and Vomiting

Every pregnancy is different. Some women experience all of these signs while others may not experience any signs. Any of these signs could occur as early as the first two weeks of pregnancy.

Be mindful that many of the signs mimic the feelings you get prior to your period.

The only way to determine pregnancy is to take a pregnancy test.

Finding Out if I'm Pregnant

If you take a home pregnancy test...

  • Available in drug stores
  • Cost approximately $20
  • Urine test
  • If you select this method and the test is negative, take the test again a week later to confirm results. If the test is positive, go to your doctor or clinic immediately to confirm results and to get additional help

If you go to a clinic...

What to Expect During Pregnancy

Changes in your body:

  • Menstruation stops or becomes very light, breasts become larger and tender
  • Mood swings
  • Pregnancy discomforts may include nausea or vomiting, swelling of feet and ankles, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, heartburn and constipation, fatigue, sleep loss, and backaches

Things to avoid if you are pregnant:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and other drugs (including over-the-counter and prescription)
  • Unsafe sex
  • Caffeine

Things to do if you are pregnant:

  • Eat right and exercise
  • Get regular sleep
  • Schedule prenatal visits
  • Take prenatal vitamins

Questions to ask yourself when you find out you are pregnant:

  • Do you have social, family, and financial support to raise a child?
  • How will you (and your partner) raise your child?
  • If you have a partner, what values and beliefs do you both share and want to pass down to your child? What values and beliefs differ? How will you resolve this?
  • If you and your current partner do not stay together, how will you raise this baby without him/her?

How Do I Tell My Parents

Find a time and place where you can talk with your parents privately. Start by saying that you have something important and difficult to tell them. You might mention that it has taken a lot of courage for you to be honest. Tell them - "I'm pregnant" or "______ is pregnant and I believe I'm the father."

Your parents will probably feel shocked disappointed, sad and angry. They may want some time to get over the initial shock of the information.

Keep in mind...
Bringing a friend or other trusted adult along may be helpful. Your parents want you to live healthy and safe lives. They really want the best for their children.