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© Love Matters | Rita Lino

Am I pregnant?

If you’ve had sex without using a contraceptive, there’s a chance you could be pregnant. How can you find out if you’re pregnant? And what can you do if you are?

Checklist:

  • Have you had sex without using any form of contraception?
  • Are you on the pill and you’ve taken antibiotics?
  • Are you on the pill, and you’ve vomited or had diarrhoea within four hours of taking it?
  • If you’ve had sex and the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, there’s a chance you could be pregnant.
  • Have you had unprotected sex and worried you might be pregnant? Read more about Emergency Contraception or the morning after pill

If you want to be pregnant: wait and see if you’re in luck! You can buy a pregnancy test from the chemist or drug store.

I am pregnant – now what?

If you were planning to get pregnant – congratulations! Head over to our section on pregnancy where you can find detailed information about what to expect.

For many people, though, pregnancy can come as a surprise. It’s easy to forget about the condom in the heat of the moment. Even if you use contraception perfectly, sometimes it just doesn’t work.

Either way, if you unintentionally get pregnant, you need to decide on what to do.

There are three options:

  • You could keep the baby.
  • You could deliver the baby and give it up for adoption, or to a family member.
  • You could have the pregnancy terminated (an abortion).

Whatever you decide, you need to think carefully about the next steps. Talk to someone you trust. Someone who can give you advice and support; preferably an adult such as your mother, an aunt, a friend, your partner, or your doctor. Someone who won’t judge you for the choices you ultimately make. In the end, you’re the one who has to make the decision.

It’s always best to talk your decision through with someone you trust. The surer you are of your decision, the better you will feel afterwards. Make sure you are the one who makes the final decision and do not settle for anything less. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a decision you don’t feel comfortable with.

Keep the baby

You could decide to keep the baby. This means thinking about the future: what will you have to put into place to ensure you can take care of a dependent? Do you have a plan and a social support system for instance from the baby’s father, or from family? What are the short-, mid-, and long-term implications for your life and plans? What about your education and career? Will you have enough support – from the baby’s father, or your family? Will you have enough resources to live on? If you have a partner, what do they think? Do they want to keep the child? How many children do you have already? Is it safe to have another? Is the foetus healthy? Are you healthy?

And the most important question: do you want this child?

Give the baby up for adoption

You could also have the baby adopted. Again, you need to think carefully, considering all your options. If you decide to take this option, how will you find someone to adopt your child?

You could contact an official adoption agency and have your child safely and legally adopted through the state. They will then take you through the process and explain what happens in adoption cases. They will ask you to sign a consent form and arrange a suitable plan for how you can get the baby to them once it is born. In most cases, adoption centres can make arrangements for you to leave the baby at the hospital, where they will collect it.

If you’re still very young and you live with your family, it helps if you can be honest with your parents. As a minor, you may be limited in some of the options you can consider. They may want to help raise the child or, if not, perhaps they can help you decide what to do. If it’s difficult to tell them, perhaps another family member or family friend could help you break the news.

Under no circumstances should you just abandon a child. Doing this is illegal and it is always better to leave a child with a hospital, adoption agency, or church, so the child can be taken care of.

End the pregnancy (abortion)

The third option is to have an abortion. Like the others, this is not an easy decision to make, and you may need some time to think it over. But don’t let anyone choose for you. This is about you, your body, and your choices, so in the end, you have to decide for yourself. Read more about the different types of abortions.

Your decision

There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. You should decide what feels right for you. If you’re really struggling, try talking through your options with someone you trust.

Comments

Hey Reen, You may or may not be pregnant. There are other reasons other than pregnancy that can lead to a delayed period including hormonal issues, change in diet, environment, stress among other reasons. To rule out pregnancy, begin by getting a pregnancy test done to get to know if you are pregnant or not.

Hi I had my periods 8th last month and played sex safely but haven't had my periods this month..... My boyfriend insists I keep his pregnancy but I'm afraid we're young and schooling together need help

Hey Glooh, aside from pregnancy there a number of other reasons that can cause your period to delay. These include hormonal issues, change in environment, weight gain or weight loss, stress among others. Start by taking a pregnancy test to rule out pregnancy or to find out if you are pregnant or not. 

Hi Josephine, it may take upto 12 months for one to get pregnant. Since you are still within the expected period of time, I suggest you keep trying. Have a look at the following article for additional tips to increase your chances of getting pregnant;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

Hello Alichia, so sorry about this. Most miscarriages happen when the unborn baby has genetic problems, usually unrelated to the mother. There are other reasons that may lead to a miscarriage including, immune system responses, Hormone problems, infection among others. It is important that you start your prenatal clinics as soon as possible which will also help monitor the pregnancy for any complications. Have a look at this article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/being-pregnant/miscarriage We wish you the very best in your journey. 

I have a six month old baby and I just foumd out I am pregnant. I don't know what to do and am not sure how my husband will react to this news...soo confused.

Hi Sue, Emergency contraception or P2 will have an effect or change the timing of your next period so that the period delays or it comes early. You need to take a pregnancy test to determine whether the P2 was successful in preventing pregnancy. Remember P2 is likely to work when taken within the first 72 hours after having unprotected sex and it's most effective when taken within the first 72 hours. Have a look at the following article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hey Vivy, the right age for a woman to get pregnant is when they are physically and even emotionally mature. It's also be important for one to have great support around them like family or a partner when they choose to get pregnant. Scientifically, as one gets older it maybe abit challenging for them to get pregnant. Aside from age, have a look at this article for additional tips to increase ones chances of getting pregnant;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

Hi Loise, emergency contraception or P2 is most effective when taken within the first 24 hours but should be taken within the first 72 hours after sex. The pill, however, has a failure rate which increases as time passes. One can therefore still get pregnant even after using P2. Check out this article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hey Celest, safe days are one of the most unreliable ways to prevent pregnancy, and we really don't recommend it at all. When your safe days are really depends on the length of your cycle. Technically speaking, the first seven days before and after your period, as well as the time of your period, are relatively safe. But, if you have a shorter cycle (shorter than 28 days), or an irregular one, this will vary. Also keep in mind that sperm can survive for up to five days and longer inside the body- so even if you have sex on a 'safe' day, you can still get pregnant, because the sperm survived until your ovulation date. So you see, it's a very inaccurate. And lastly, of course this won't protect you from STDs. Only condoms will. So we really recommend a more reliable method. Check this out;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/safe-days-pros-and-cons

I had sex 4 days before my period and now my period has not come it is late by 3 days. I used P2 right after sex. Do you think this means I am pregnant?

Hi Kiki, one of the expected side effects of using emergency contraception is that it ends up affecting your next period so that the period comes early or late. To get to know if you are pregnant, you may need to get a pregnancy test done at a health facility. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hey Faizah, to get to know if it worked you would have to wait to see if you get your next period or get a pregnancy test after at least 14 days. Also, P2 has to be taken within the first 72 hours after having unprotected sex. Lastly, if you vomit soon after taking the pill, it maybe less effective. Check out the following article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hi Teddy, yes there are chances of getting pregnant during menstruation, however, there chances are extremely small, but it can still happen. Check out the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/sex-during-your-period-top-five-facts

Hey Phillis, Emergency contraception or P2 can be taken within the first 72 hours after having unprotected sex. However, it is more effective when taken within the first 24 hours. For this reason you could get pregnant. P2 will also affect ones next period when taken so that your next period is either early or late. To get to know if you are pregnant you will need to wait for atleast 14 days and then get a pregnancy test done. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Lilly Chept
Wed, 01/02/2019 - 13:31
How long should I wait to get a pregnancy test if I took emergency contraception almost immediately after sex? And how soon can take a HIV test from the last time I didn't use a condom? Thanks.

Hey Lilly, You need to wait to take a pregnancy test for atleast week after your missed period to get the most accurate result. If you don't want to wait until you've missed your period, you should wait at least one to two weeks after you had sex. As far as a HIV test is concerned, you should wait for atleast 14 days to get a test done. You could a home test and do the test at your own convenience. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/unsure-about-being-pregnant/am-i-pregnant

https://lovemattersafrica.com/safe-sex/stds-stis/my-first-time-hiv-self-test

Hey Lindah, P2 should be taken within the first 72 hours of having unprotected sex for the pill to prevent unplanned pregnancy. The longer one takes to take the pill the less effective it becomes, this means one can take P2 but still become pregnant. On the other hand, safe days are the most unreliable method for preventing pregnancy. Check out the following for additional information;- 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/are-safe-days-safe

I had a medical abortion then after 3 days still having my bleeding I did sex, my question is, will I get pregnant again and if yes, will it be the first pregnancy or will be another one?

Dear Aggie, the bleeding or spotting may last up to three weeks after the abortion. Having sex during this time will not get you pregnant since your body has not adjusted yet for you to get pregnant again. Once your body gets back normal, you should be able to get pregnant again. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/unsure-about-being-pregnant/abortion

My boyfriend wants have sex, yet I feel unprotected whenever we do it and we talked about it but he said that he can't use a condom to someone he loves. I am worried I am pregnant or I will be. How do I convince him to use a condom?

Dear Julia, only have sex if you feel comfortable. If you don't feel comfortable about having unprotected sex let your partner know about it and be firm about it. If he won't put on one, you could consider using the female condom which can be purchased at the chemist. You can also get them at a health facility, particularly government run facilities. Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections and unplanned pregnancies is important, and should be important to your partner as well. If he is unwilling to use condoms, do consider other options including birth control methods that you can use. Check out the following article for additional information;- 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/female-condom

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control

Hey Maria, taking Emergency contraception affects you next period so that ir comes early or late. I suggest you give it a couple of more days before getting a pregnancy test done to determine if you are indeed pregnant. Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

There is no limit to how many times one can use the E-pill, however when you find that you keep needing to use P2 it is important that you consider using a regular birth control method. Emergency Contraception should only be used in emergency situations only and should not be used as a regular birth control method. 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

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