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Am I pregnant?
by TeenHelp April 1st 2015, 10:19 PM

Am I pregnant?
By Nicole (eumoirous)

Fearing that you may become pregnant is very common, especially when you first become sexually active. Most barriers or hormones to prevent pregnancy are up to 99% effective, which means that although the chances of becoming pregnant are extremely low, it is still possible. If you suspect that you might be having symptoms of pregnancy, the first thing you should do is to remain calm.

Symptoms and signs

Among the most common signs, the one that usually is an indicator that you are pregnant is if you skip a period, however missing or having a late period can be caused by many other reasons besides being pregnant. For example, being very stressed can cause your period to be late. Periods also are generally irregular, so it's best not to worry if it has been 28 days since your last cycle and your period hasn't started. This is where patience is key; try and remain calm and give it some time before you jump to the conclusion that you may be pregnant.

A pregnancy test may be taken if it has been at least two weeks since you last engaged in sexual intercourse. The test must be taken during your first bathroom trip of the day because that is when pregnancy hormones will be most detectable. If the result is negative then you most likely are not pregnant, but if taking another test would ease your mind then wait at least one more week before testing again. You can also go and see your doctor who can conduct a test for you.

Additional symptoms of being pregnant include fatigue and nausea. If either of these occur and persist, then you may be pregnant.

Other common symptoms include frequent urination and food cravings and aversions. Just like the last few symptoms, try and rule out other probable causes before worrying that you may be pregnant.

Pregnancy symptoms can often be very similar to premenstrual symptoms. This is why it's best to be patient and give it time to make sure it isn't just your period that is producing these symptoms. Pregnancy symptoms usually occur two months after fertilization, and by then you should be aware that you aren't menstruating.

Myths and facts

Myth: Swallowing ejaculate can cause pregnancy.
Fact: Swallowing ejaculate cannot get you pregnant. Fertilization of an egg occurs when a penis enters a vagina and ejaculates while penetrating. An egg has to have left the follicle and entered the Fallopian tube (this occurs during ovulation) and then sperm must swim through the vagina canal and attach to the egg to cause pregnancy. Swallowing ejaculate takes the sperm into the stomach, not the Fallopian tubes where the egg is. This makes the chances of pregnancy impossible.

Myth: Pull-out method is an effective form of birth control.
Fact: The pull-out method is not an effective form of birth control because it can be hard for the male to pull out at the right time; the male has to stop penetration right before orgasm, and that means it can be hard to get the timing right. Only one sperm cell needs to attach to an egg for fertilization. Additionally, pre-cum can include sperm if the male has ejaculated previously and has not gone to the bathroom or showered since to clear out leftover sperm. It's less likely to get pregnant from pre-cum than it is from actual ejaculate, but it can happen so it is best to be safe and use a condom and take birth control than use the pull-out method. The Huffington Post estimates that ⅓ of sexually active women between ages 15 and 25 use the pull-out method, and statistics say 27% of couples who use the pull-out method will become pregnant every year.

Myth: Bleeding while on birth control will tell you that you are not pregnant.
Fact: The bleeding while on the pill is called "breakthrough bleeding" which can still happen when you are pregnant, so if you have any suspicion you are pregnant while on the pill (for example if you didn't take it consistently) you should take a test. Forgetting to take a pill can cause your period to start early. Additionally, some women take birth control that causes them to have only four periods a year or even none at all. While taking the pill is an effective form of birth control, it is also important to be cautious of becoming pregnant with this method alone because missing periods won’t be an indicator of pregnancy. Using a backup method such as condoms can prevent any worry of an accident.

Myth: You cannot take a pregnancy test when on the pill because the hormones will cause you to test positive.
Fact: Pregnancy tests test for a hormone that is not in birth control pills. They test for the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG for short). This hormone is only found during pregnancy. Birth control pills typically include the hormones estrogen and progestin. These are made naturally in the ovaries, and when taken as hormonal birth control, this prevents ovulation which means that an egg is not released and therefore cannot get fertilized.

Myth: You can't get pregnant if you have sex in a pool or use certain kinds of positions.
Fact: Where you have sex and what positions you use do not protect against pregnancy. If you are having sexual intercourse where the penis is entering the vagina, then you can get pregnant. Always use a form of contraception if you are going to engage in any kind of sexual conduct.

Even though getting on birth control and using backup methods such as condoms or spermicide can be effective in preventing pregnancy, it still isn't 100% safe. The only sure way to prevent pregnancy is through abstinence, which means not having sexual intercourse. There are lots of other ways of being intimate with someone besides having sexual intercourse, so be sure to wait until you can be responsible should pregnancy occur. Having sex requires both partakers to be mature and have a plan unless they choose to abstain.
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