Before Birth Control Fails
Your decision whether or not to become
sexually active is something which should be taken seriously
— you and your partner have the potential to create a new human
life. Discuss the possibility of pregnancy with your partner before starting a sexual relationship. What would happen if you became pregnant? Consider your pregnancy options. Do they include giving birth or abortion? If your partner is unreceptive to pregnancy concerns, chances are that he is not ready for the intimacy of a sexual relationship.
No Contraceptives are Perfect
Sexually active, couples should
keep in mind that all contraceptives have failed at some point — even when used perfectly. If your method of contraception
has an average failure rate of 18%, over five years your likelihood
of pregnancy is greater than fifty percent. During those five
years, figure 63 out of 100 women using a diaphragm will have
gotten pregnant at least once. 20% of young women who become sexually
active become pregnant within the first month of sexual
activity. 50% become pregnant within the first six months.
Published failure rates are higher for teens than older and married couples.
The average woman using reversible contraception can expect two
unintended pregnancies in her lifetime, or more if she does not
always use her method. Even a low annual risk of contraceptive
failure implies a high risk of becoming pregnant during a lifetime of use.
If it's imperative that pregnancy
be prevented your only choices are to avoid sexual intercourse or consider a permanent method.
Making love makes babies. If you are sexually active you should prepare yourself for possible pregnancy.
Might be Pregnant?
Couples experiencing a sudden contraceptive failure might consider Emergency Contraception to reduce the chances of pregnancy. If more than 72 hours have passed, then the next step is to confirm if pregnancy has actually occurred. Pregnancy symptoms include nausea, frequent urination, and of course, a missed period. Take a pregnancy test on the first day you miss your period if there is any concern that your birth control might have failed.
If the pregnancy test is positive, couples need to decide if they want to pursue an early abortion (medical abortion by "Abortion Pill") or carry the pregnancy to term. The decision to continue a pregnancy should be made as soon as possible as later abortions carry more health risks.
If an unplanned pregnancy is a problem, help is available. If you are in a difficult financial situation, there are several pregnancy help centers which can help to provide everything
needed for you and your baby for as long as necessary. Contact
your local pregnancy resource center right away.
Experienced counselors are available for referrals or if you just need someone to talk to.
Even if your partner is unsupportive, no woman has to go it alone. If you are undecided about how to proceed with an unplanned pregnancy, read our article about pregnancy options counseling.
Keeping Your Baby Healthy
If you discover that you are pregnant,
seek prenatal care as soon as possible. Eat well-balanced meals;
avoid dieting, as well as raw meat and unpasteurized products.
Drink milk, water, and fruit juices rather than caffeinated beverages
or soda. Avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy, as well as
exposure to toxins like nicotine and illegal drugs. If you smoke,
quit now! Obtain prenatal vitamins from your doctor, and
talk to him or her before taking any over-the-counter drugs. Avoid
any contact with kitty litter; your cat could be carrying toxoplasma,
an infection that could harm your baby.
Avoid hot tubs, saunas, or exposure
to illness that could cause a fever. Exercise moderately, but
never to the point where your temperature becomes elevated. Avoid
STD exposure. Most of all, know the danger signs of pregnancy
complication, such as abdominal pain, vaginal bleeding, or fluid discharge.
List of Contraceptives
Oral Sex and Cancer
- At the Epigee Women's Health site:
- The following links are provided as an informational resource or counterpoint and are not necessarily endorsed by the author:
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