Trigger Warning (TW): This blog post contains information that some readers may find upsetting or difficult to read. There are a list of sources of support throughout should you need some further advice and guidance.
Sexual activity may result in the fertilisation of an egg by sperm, otherwise known as a pregnancy. This can happen after both protected and unprotected sex, though it is far less likely when using protection such as a condom or contraceptive. Pregnancies may be planned or unplanned, and this blog post aims to give some advice for both wanted and unwanted pregnancies. The first indication of pregnancy is usually a missed period, though missing a period does not always happen and does not always indicate you are pregnant.
Other key indicators you may be pregnant include:
- Sickness and vomiting (sometimes known as ‘morning sickness’ though it can occur at any time
- Breast tenderness and enlargement
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Weeing more frequently, particularly at night
- Cravings for foods or unusual dislikes
Finding Out You’re Pregnant
You might choose to use a pregnancy test when finding out if you are pregnant. Pregnancy tests are most reliable from the first day of your missed period and are readily available to buy at chemists and supermarkets, or be given at sexual health services for free. You may also visit your GP for a free test.
You can carry out most pregnancy tests from the first day of a missed period. If you don’t know when your next period is due, do the test at least 21 days after you last had unprotected sex. Some very sensitive pregnancy tests can be used even before you miss a period.
You can do a pregnancy test on a sample of urine collected at any time of the day. It doesn’t have to be in the morning. Most pregnancy tests come in a box that contains 1 or 2 long sticks. You wee on the stick at the end and the result appears on the stick after a few minutes. All tests are slightly different, so always check the instructions for how to wee best on the stick and for how long, how long to wait for a result, and what the lines indicate on the result. Tests detect a hormone in your urine that starts to be produced by the body when you are around 6 days pregnant. They are similar in a way to a COVID test, and show a result quickly.
Home pregnancy tests are accurate as long as you follow the instructions correctly. A positive test result is almost certainly correct; however, a negative test result is less reliable as you may have done it incorrectly or taken it too early.If you get a negative result and still think you’re pregnant, wait a few days and try again. Speak to your GP if you get a negative result after a second test but your period has not arrived.
If you’re pregnant and want to continue with the pregnancy, contact your GP or a midwife to start your antenatal care as soon as possible. Your pregnancy can be treated confidentially, even if you’re under 16.
If you’re not sure about continuing with the pregnancy, you can discuss this confidentially with a healthcare professional.
Support is Available
Finding out you are pregnant can be surprising and sometimes overwhelming. You may feel happy, shocked, upset, overjoyed, nervous, confused – everyone is different, but just know support is available to help you. Your body will be going through many changes including hormonal changes which may affect your mood and emotions so it’s important to talk to someone if you are worried about the impact of pregnancy on your mental health. Your GP, midwife, or other NHS professional will be there to support you, as will organisations such as Sexwise, Maternity Action, and MumsAid.
Remember you can also contact your Showcase Training tutor, our Mental Health First Aider (Lauren Toole), our Mental Health Lead (Nicola Bailey), or our Safeguarding Lead (Ellen Mould) if you are unsure of where to turn to. Just call us on 0330 320 9230 or on our direct numbers if you have them.
Unwanted pregnancies are common and nothing to be ashamed of. There is plenty of help and support available to you should you find you’re pregnant and do not wish to have a baby. You can either have an abortion, or continue with the pregnancy and have the baby adopted once born.
An abortion will end a pregnancy and is sometimes also known as a termination. Abortions can only be carried out under the care of an NHS hospital or a licensed clinic, and are usually available free of charge on the NHS.
The decision to have an abortion is yours alone.
Impartial information and support are available from:
- Your GP or another doctor at your GP practice
- A counselling service at the abortion clinic
- Organisations such as Brook (for under-25s), BPAS, MSI Reproductive Choices UK and NUPAS
The NHS website has lots of information about abortions and what to expect. Check it out here.