The facts on pregnancy

  • Pregnancy can happen any time a person with a penis and person with a vagina have sex.
  • More than half of all teenage pregnancies in Australia occur in the first 6 months of starting to have sex.
  • You can get pregnant even if the withdrawal method is used –when a person with a penis withdraws or 'pulls out' before they ejaculate or cum.
  • Sperm can stay alive in the vagina for 5-6 days after sex, so it's really hard to pick ‘safe’ times to avoid pregnancy.

How does pregnancy happen?

Around 14 days before a persons' period is due, their ovaries release an egg (ovum). This is when someone is most likely to get pregnant. When a person with a penis is not wearing a condom ejaculates or cums inside a vagina, millions of sperm are released into the vagina. The sperm swim into the womb and fallopian tubes. If just one sperm implants itself into the released egg, fertilisation occurs. If the fertilised egg implants in the wall of the womb, an embryo will start to grow.

The above conditions are ideal for pregnancy, however it is quite possible for a female to get pregnant even if:

  • sex occurs at another time in the menstrual cycle
  • the person with a penis has not ejaculated (because sperm is also present in the pre-cum, the clear fluid released from the penis prior to ejaculation)
  • any semen, including pre-cum, is deposited in or just outside the vagina.

A person with a vagina can get pregnant whether or not they have an orgasm during sex, or the first time they have sex.
Using contraception reduces the risk of getting pregnant

I think I'm pregnant!

Signs of pregnancy can include:

  • missing a period
  • sore breasts
  • feeling sick
  • feeling tired or dizzy.

But everyone is different. Some people who are pregnant notice some or all of these signs; others might not notice any change at all.

If you are worried that you are pregnant, it is important to do something right away.

The first step is to buy a pregnancy-testing kit from the chemist or supermarket. You can also see a doctor or sexual health clinic for a pregnancy test which is normally just a urine test.

If you are pregnant, and didn't plan to be, you may feel frightened, angry, even trapped. It's normal to have mixed feelings about pregnancy, but the sooner you know the sooner you can work out what you need to do.

Some pregnant young people find that their family and friends are the best place to turn when they have a challenge like pregnancy. It's definitely a good idea to also go and see a doctor or counsellor to talk about what to do next.

You have three choices if you are pregnant:

  • Choose to have a baby and raise the child.
  • Choose to have a baby and place the child for adoption or fostering.
  • Choose to have a termination (abortion) and end the pregnancy.

Only you can make that choice, but it’s a big decision to make and talking to a counsellor, doctor and a close relative or friend who can support you will help you to make the best decision.

If you are worried and would like to speak to someone about unplanned pregnancy you can call the Sexual Health Helpline on 9227 6178 or 1800 198 205 for country callers.

If you are pregnant and didn't plan to be, you may feel frightened, angry, even trapped. It's normal to have mixed feelings about pregnancy.

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