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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 Aza, since everyone is different their bodies respond to being pregnant in different ways. If you suspect you could be pregnant, the best way is to get a pregnancy test done. Consider visiting a health centre to get a pregnancy test done to be certain. In the meantime have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/unsure-about-being-pregnant/am-i-pregnant

Hey Aza, since everyone is different their bodies respond to being pregnant in different ways. If you suspect you could be pregnant, the best way is to get a pregnancy test done. Consider visiting a health centre to get a pregnancy test done to be certain. In the meantime have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/unsure-about-being-pregnant/am-i-pregnant

Hey Sheilah, other pregnancy the following are some of the causes of a delayed period, stress, hormonal issues, change in environment, weight gain or weight loss, extreme exercises including an illness. It is normal to experience this delay once, but when this consistently happens, it is important to seek medical advice. 

Hi Loise, one can still get pregnant after a miscarriage. Since you have been trying for more than 12 months, it is important you consult a specialist who may conduct tests and further advice. Have a look at this article for additional information;- 

https://lovemattersafrica.com/pregnancy/being-pregnant/miscarriage

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

Hi there, first, it is recommended that you take P2 after having unprotected sex and not before. It is important to follow this instruction for it to be effective. P2 should be taken within the first 72 hours after having unprotected sex, it is most effect within the first 24 hours. Also, if you vomit soon after taking the pill, it may be less effective. Talk to a healthcare provider as soon as possible to find out what your options are. Have a look at the following article;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hi we were intimate with my fiance on my fisrt day of ovulation last month. I have not seen my period this month. Could it be that I am pregnant?

Hey Christine, the manufacture recommends that the pill is taken after having unprotected sex this is why it is also known as morning after. Taking it before may affect its effectiveness since the manufacture says you should take it after. Have a look at the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hey Alvin, yes you can still get pregnant even when you irregular period. Getting pregnant is related to ovulation, that time when one most fertile and has the highest chance of getting pregnant. Even with irregular periods, one still ovulates. It's just that it doesn't happen on a regular or predictable basis. Learning how you body responds when you are ovulating can help. Have a look at the following article for more information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/menstruation

Hey Priscah, first P2 or emergency contraception is to be taken after having unprotected sex and not before. It will not have a negative effect if one didn't have sex, however it is likely to affect the timing of your next period. Check out the following article for more information on emergency contraception;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

Hi Abigael, if you vomited immediately after taking the pill the it may not work to prevent the unplanned pregnancy. To get know if you are pregnant however, have pregnancy test done, this will help you rule out pregnancy at this time. Check out this article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/birth-control/types-of-birth-control/emergency-contraception

My vagina has become itchy after I had sex after along time with no sex what is the reason? Qn 2 I had sex 3 days after periods can I get pregnant?

Hey Destin, the itching may have been caused by a number of reasons including an infection. Have you observed a change in the odour of your vagina, has there been a change in the quantity, color or texture of vaginal discharge and are you feeling any pain? All these could point to an infection and for this reason you need to seek medical attention to determine what infection it is and get treatment. Secondly, yes having unprotected sex, exposes you to the possibility of getting pregnant. Using protection like condoms or other birth control methods will help prevent unplanned pregnancy. Have a look at the following article for additional information;- https://lovemattersafrica.com/our-bodies/female-body/vaginal-discharge-and-odour-top-facts 

Hi Aggie, one can get pregnant only if semen finds its way from the anus into the vagina. Without this one will not get pregnant. Using condoms every time one has sex, helps to prevent unplanned pregnancies and keep one safe from Sexually Transmitted Infections. Have a look at the following articles for more information condom use;- 

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

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

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