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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

Hi Tess, pregnancy tests use either urine or blood. Blood tests are more accurate and can detect pregnancy much earlier. One can take the test after a missed period, since a missed period is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. On the other hand, if one know the day they possible conceived they may opt to take the pregnancy test 14 days from that day. This especially applies for the home urine pregnancy tests.

Hi Dorah, there is no evidence that taking the pill before sex makes it more effective. Also the manufacturer doesn't recommend it. It is important to follow the provided instructions to ensure the pill works. The pill is most effective when taken within the first 24 hours after sex but it can still work when taken within the 72 hours of having unprotected sex. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hi, I had sex with my boyfriend but I didnt lie down after and I also cleaned up right after. I saw the sperm spill out when I stood up to bath. Can I still get pregnant?

Hi Trish, if you had unprotected sex there is a chance you could get pregnant. Standing up right after and even the sperm spilling doesn't protect you from getting pregnant. Also, with unprotected sex there is a risk of getting infected with a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs). Condoms, when used correctly and consistent can however help prevent both unplanned pregnancies and STIs. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/condom

Hi Mrs David, there are a few tricks one can do to try and choose the sex of their baby. However, there is not guarantee that these tricks will work and give you your desired results. Have a look at the following article;- https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/choosing-sex-of-your-child#1 

Hi Edna, the major source of the cramps during pregnancy is the stretching of the womb as the baby grows. I however suggest that you talk to your health provider. All the best in the rest of your journey. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/being-pregnant/how-the-baby-develops

Hi Brio, Menstruation is the process in a woman or girl of discharging blood and other material from the lining of the uterus at intervals of about one month from puberty until they get to menopause. This process occurs except during pregnancy. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/menstruation

Hey Liza, this is not true. If you have unprotected sex, even if you get up immediately or clean up right after, there is a chance you could get pregnant. If you do not wish to get pregnant, consider using a birth control method. You can choose to use condoms which are effective in preventing both unplanned pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) when used correctly and each time you have sex. Check out the following article;- 

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

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

Hi there, Emergency Contraception (P2) helps to prevent pregnancy when you use it. It however, does not affect a woman's ability to pregnant in future. On the other hand, it may take upto one year to become pregnant. After more than one year of trying, if one is not pregnant they should consult a specialist for further advice. Have a look at the following articles for more information;-

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

https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

Hi Faith, to get pregnant, you will have to have sex when you are ovulating or around the time you are ovulating, this is the because this is the time you are most fertile and most likely to get pregnant. Have a look at the following articles for more information;- 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/menstruation

I received my periods on 26th January and on 31st,I had unprotected sex but took P2 after 5hrs. A week later, I got urinary track infection and I was in medication for one week. Now it is Feb 25th and I haven't seen my Periods. Could I be pregnant?

Hi Joy, talking emergency contraception can affect your next period so that is comes either early or late. You may have to give it a couple more days and if you still don't get your period, consider having a pregnancy test done. Have look at the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hey Syl, this is stressful. Have you tried to reach him through a mutual friend someone you think he respects? Think about who and then approach them for support. If however, he is still unwilling to accept responsibility and support during this time and beyond, you will then have to think about how to proceed without him. This may include getting support from elsewhere including family. We wish you all the best. 

I was making out with my boyfriend and he ejaculated on me around the vagina area. I had my panties on but am worried can I be e pregnant? We were lying side by side?

Hey Darleen, if he ejaculated near your vagina opening there is a chance you could get pregnant. It is important to use protection if the penis is going to come close to the vagina.Condoms help prevent both unplanned pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/condom

Hi there I experienced slight blood stain for a week, cramping, backache and missed period for one month but my blood test is negative is it possible that am pregnant am so confident please help

Hey Hillary, the blood test is the most accurate of the pregnancy tests. If the test says negative then you are not pregnant yet. Have a look at the following article for more tips to enhance your chances of getting pregnant;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

I have been trying to get pregnant for more than 7 months what could be the problem? I used P2 many times in my early 20s now I am in my mid 20s. Is this the reason why?

Hey Sam, using P2 does not affect ones fertility. On the other hand, it can take upto one year for one to get pregnant. Since, it has not be longer than twelve months, keep trying. If after twelve months, if you are not pregnant, it will be important that you seek the services of the Specialist. Have a look at he following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

Hello Quinne, If you vomit soon after taking the pill, it may be less effective. If this happens one should talk to a healthcare provider as soon as possible to find out what options they have. One should also ensure they take the pill within the first 72 hours after having unprotected sex. The sooner one takes the pill the more effective it is likely to be. Check out this article for additional information on emergency contraception;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hello Jerry, what makes you feel that you are not responsible for the pregnancy? Have you spoken with her about your concern? This is a difficult conversation to have but if you have doubts, the right thing is to talk about it with her so that your concerns can be addressed and you can be reassured. Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/love-relationships/happy-relationships/tips-for-talking-to-your-partner

Pls can herbal medicine(native) for treating candida albicans..or d infections itsef cause a delayed period..its bin a month and a week have not gotten my period

Hi Gloria, I am not sure about the herbal medicine you are talking about or it’s effect on ones period. There are however a number of reasons other than pregnancy that can lead to a delayed or missed period including, stress, change in diet and environment, extreme exercising, hormonal issues among other reasons. If you have recently had unprotected sex, you may want to begin by getting a pregnancy test done. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/unsure-about-being-pregnant/am-i-pregnant

Can candida albicans infection or the herbal medicine used in treating it caused a delayed period for a month and a week now

Hi Chisom, I am not sure about the herbal medicine you are talking about and it’s effect on ones period. There are however a number of reasons other than pregnancy that can lead to a delayed or missed period including, stress, change in diet and environment, extreme exercising, hormonal issues among other reasons. If you have recently had unprotected sex, you may want to begin by getting a pregnancy test done. Check out the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/unsure-about-being-pregnant/am-i-pregnant

Hey Brendah, a major disadvantage of this method is that one won’t be able to immediately get pregnant when they stop; it may take around ten months to get back to your normal fertility. On the other hand if you don't get pregnant after twelve months of trying, it is important to seek the services of a specialist. Have a look at the following articles for additional information;- 

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

https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/before-pregnancy/getting-pregnant-dos-and-donts

HI, we had sex and used a condom but it broke. I was not able to get P2 because of the remoteness of the place we were. I took P2 about 2 days later. Will it really work? What else can I do not to make sure I dont get pregnant? Thanks.

Dear Flo, sorry to hear about the condom burst, check out this article on condoms for more information: https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/condom

Emergency contraceptive (P2), is very effective in preventing unplanned pregnancies, if taken as soon as possible. Its effective rates reduces with time. However, the e-pill can still be effective if you take it 72 hours or even 120 hours after sex. Check out thios article for more information: https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception-top-five-facts

Hey, these are some of the early signs of pregnancy, however the surest way to know if you are pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test between the 14-21 days after the last unprotected sex. 

  • Tender, swollen breasts- your breasts may provide one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. As early as two weeks after conception, hormonal changes may make your breasts tender, tingly or sore
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Food aversions or cravings
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Faintness and dizziness
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