Am I Pregnant?

2011/07/05 in Health, Sex and Sexuality

If you’ve called this tape because you suspect that you’re pregnant, we’ll try to help with your concern.

 

You may suspect that you’re pregnant because you’ve had sexual intercourse since your last menstrual period, and you’ve missed a menstrual period. You may also – although not necessarily – feel sick to your stomach especially in the morning, feel a slight tenderness in your breasts, urinate more than usual, feel tired, or notice a slight weight gain, These are some of the common signs of pregnancy as well as signs of a delayed menstrual period, But they’re not always present. You could be pregnant and have none of these signs.

The only way to find out for sure if you’re pregnant is to get a pregnancy test. A pregnancy test is a laboratory analysis of a woman’s urine sample. This is how it works to determine pregnancy: When a woman is pregnant the placenta of the fetus produces a certain kind of hormone that finds its way into her urine. A pregnancy test will indicate whether of not that hormone is present – that is, whether or not the woman is pregnant. The test should not be done until two weeks after you skip a menstrual period. If done earlier, the results of the test may not be accurate. The reason for getting a pregnancy test as soon as possible is that you may find out you’re not pregnant – and save yourself much worry and unnecessary anxiety.

There is a blood test that can be used that is very sensitive to detecting a pregnancy though even this test is not 100% accurate. It is available through private physicians and labs and other sources.

If a pregnancy test is positive – that is, if it shows that you’re pregnant – most clinics and doctors will also do a pelvic examination to confirm the results. Very early is the pregnancy, a woman’s uterus becomes larger and softer. A doctor can determine pregnancy because of those changes.

You should have a pregnancy test as soon as possible if you suspect you’re pregnant. For a urine test, wait until your period is at least 14 days late. The first urine sample in the morning, collected in a clean container, is the most accurate. For a blood test, you don’t have to wait until your period is late. You can have it done as early as 10 days after the day you think you conceived. If your period is usually irregular and you have one or more of the common signs of pregnancy we mentioned before, get a pregnancy test also.

Please consider counseling to help you sort out your feelings, concerns, and options. Maybe you can talk with a counselor at school, a minister, priest, rabbi, doctor or nurse practitioner, or a member of your family. It’s important that you schedule an appointment and make arrangements as soon as possible to discuss your situation and what you will decide to do.

The sooner you find out for sure that you’re pregnant the better for you and the baby. You can get an early start on regular visits to a doctor or clinic to protect you and your baby’s health. You can eat the right foods to make sure you’ll have a healthy baby. Having regular check-ups and eating nutritious foods are important for pregnant women of all ages – but they’re especially important for a young pregnant women because she’s more likely to have problems with her pregnancy.

If you intend to place the baby for adoption, you’ll need time to get counseling and find an appropriate agency. If you intend to raise the child yourself, you’ll also need plenty of time to make sound decisions about what to do with your education, where you and your baby will live and how you’ll support the two of you, whether or not to marry the father, so on.

If you think you can’t possibly be pregnant because you practiced birth control, remember that no birth control method is 100% effective. The less effective the method that you used, the higher the chances that you are pregnant. One of the least effective methods practiced by young people is when the man pulls out just before he comes. Another method often used is douching – and douching is not a birth control method at all. Remember, the only sure way of avoid pregnancy is abstinence.

We’d also like to warn you that if you think you’re pregnant, don’t use any kind of drugs, including tobacco, alcohol or aspirin. Avoid X-rays and exposure to illness, especially German measles. Some of these things can cause birth defects, especially in the first three months of pregnancy. Please call our tape #416, “Future Choices: Alcohol and Pregnancy” for more information on that subject.

Please don’t put off getting a pregnancy test because you have no money or are afraid that your visit will be reported to your parents. The sooner you find out whether or not you are pregnant, the better for everyone concerned.  

For additional support and resources please call our 24-hour Teen Hotline by dialing 2-1-1 or 954-567-8336 (TEEN.)

Teen Tapes is produced by the University of Wisconsin, Madison.