Next steps if you think you might be pregnant

What to do if you think you might be pregnant depends on “how pregnant” you think you might be.

If it’s been at least 2 weeks since the last time you had sex and/or you are a few days late for your period, then you can get a real answer TODAY. You can either call your health provider or go to a low or no cost clinic like the ones listed here (just enter your zip code)and get a pregnancy test. This test will be done by a urine sample; no blood testing is needed. The other option is to do a home pregnancy test. These tests usually cost between $10-$20. They are very good as long as you read and understand the instructions.

If you don’t want to be pregnant and it has been less than 5 days since “the sex” where you think you may have gotten pregnant, go get Emergency Contraception. It’s available at the pharmacy without a prescription. It is safe, easy to use, and won’t make you sick when you take it. You will still need to take a pregnancy test in a few weeks to make sure that you aren’t pregnant, but it reduces the chances that you will get pregnant. It works by preventing your body from ovulating (releasing an egg). It does not cause an abortion – if you are pregnant (the egg has implanted) EC does not work.

If you are worried but it hasn’t been 2 weeks since “the sex” when you may have gotten pregnant there are a couple of really important things to do.

  1. Don’t have any more unprotected sex. Use a condom every time and/or avoid penis-in-vagina until you find a birth control method that will work for you, and until you get a real answer about being pregnant or not.
  2. Look at a calendar and figure out what day you can get a pregnancy test and get a real answer. A urine pregnancy test (at a clinic or done correctly at home) will be positive 14-16 days after sex.

Then you’ll have some thinking to do – and talking to those close to you about the next steps is important. If you think you want to continue the pregnancy – there are some key next steps, including prenatal care and vitamins and seeing a health care professional right away to get you on the right track.

Sometimes having a “pregnancy scare” can be really stressful and confusing. If you’re worried that it could happen to you, take control of the situation by finding a safe birth control method that’s right for you and make an appointment at a health care center so you can get started on it. Find one nearby to you by entering your zip code here.