You took every precaution. You followed every direction that was printed on the box of the contraceptive of your choice. Some of you even used two methods of birth control, but it still happened -- you got pregnant -- or so you think. Now your period's late, your breasts hurt, and you've been throwing up like a frat boy.
Do you freak out and warn your folks that they might become grandparents? Or do you wait it out just in case this is all just a false alarm? If you're like most people, you're going to hold off until you're absolutely positive before you spread the news. But what do you do until then?
Just the Facts, Mom
There are tons of myths about how and when a girl can get pregnant, but the truth is, you can get pregnant any time of the month -- even during your period -- and even if the guy doesn't ejaculate. Since no birth control method is 100 percent reliable, sex is always risky. The fact that sperm can live three to seven days in a vagina makes the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy even higher.
The best thing to do first is break out a calendar and figure out when your last period was. For example: A girl who has a solid 28-day menstrual cycle will most likely ovulate around 14 days from the first day of her period, and as we all know, when you ovulate, you're open to getting pregnant. There are, of course, a number of unknowns in this equation, but the normal rule of thumb is you're most likely to get pregnant immediately after that halfway period. Charting the days you had sex and comparing them to your ovulation period should significantly narrow down whether or not you might be pregnant.
Know Your Body
OK, you've spent hours with the calendar trying to remember when your last period was -- guessing what days you had sex -- and you still can't determine whether or not your pregnant. No problem. There are also physical signs that you can look out for.
Many young women, mostly in their mid- to early teens, aren't aware of what to look out for when it comes to natural signposts their body gives them on a daily basis, says Pamela Waynick, MSN, CMN, and Patient Consultant with HeliosHealth.com. What one girl might think of as a common stomachache could actually be a sign her body is giving her that she's pregnant.