Every year, millions of women across the world experience an unplanned pregnancy. This usually happens due to birth control failure or not practicing safe sex. If your period is late, it might be an indicator that you’re pregnant. However, many a times, late period is also caused due to hormonal imbalance.
If you have had unprotected sex or know that your birth control failed, you may still be able to prevent pregnancy if you take emergency contraception within 48 hours. However, if you do experience unplanned or unexpected pregnancy, these are some things that you should know.
Causes of Unplanned Pregnancy
Most of the times, birth control methods tend do work. However, accidents can happen sometimes. Condoms, birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other methods usually work 80% to more than 90% of the time. Even permanent birth control methods like female sterilization or male vasectomy, has a failure rate of less than 1%.
Using birth control incorrectly can increase your chances of getting pregnant. If you notice your condom breaking, it may lead to an unplanned pregnancy. In this case, try taking a second step like the over-the-counter “morning after pill”. This can prevent pregnancy up to 3 days after unprotected sex. You can also get pregnant due to a small error like a hole in a condom, or if you miss your daily pill.
However, the single biggest cause for unplanned pregnancy is when a couple does not use any contraception. Some women may not use birth control regularly, while others do not use at all. Some women may not like it, some may not have access to it, while some may even have a partner who doesn’t want to use it. Many times, women or their partners aren’t sure if they want a child or not. These are some of the many reasons why couples end up with unplanned or unexpected pregnancies.
Health Issues and Unplanned Pregnancy
Some women may get pregnant even without realizing it. Many of those may have struggled with infertility in the past, may not have regular periods, or are in perimenopause (the time before menopause, which may lead to light or irregular periods). They may still be able to conceive, even if they don’t expect to do so.
Even if you get irregular periods and want to avoid pregnancy, you should continue using birth control. After you go through menopause, it may be safe to assume that you can have intercourse without using contraception and not get pregnant. However, in order to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases, you should use contraceptives.
How to find out if you’re pregnant
Pregnancy can be a very emotional time in your life. If your pregnancy is unexpected, you may be feeling scared or confused about what to do. Before you see your doctor, you must make sure you’re pregnant. There are 2 ways of doing so:
- Urine Test: These tests are also known as home pregnancy tests and are available over the counter at most pharmacies. These can usually tell if you are pregnant around the time that you would expect to get your period. If done correctly, this test is typically very accurate.
- Blood Test: If you want to be absolutely sure, you can get a blood test done at your gynecologist’s place. It can tell if you are pregnant, about a week before you would expect to get your period.
If you take a home pregnancy test and the result is positive, see your doctor to confirm the results. Your doctor may still do a blood test or urine pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy.
What to do Next?
If you and your partner are not ready for a pregnancy, you have certain options which include:
Termination of Unplanned Pregnancy
When your pregnancy is unplanned, it can take a physical as well as emotional toll on your health. If you decide to terminate your pregnancy, you need to see your doctor who will advise you about the physical and emotional changes you will undergo thereafter. When you opt for abortion, you may undergo medical interventions such as induced abortions or in some cases, surgical abortions. Your doctor will guide you about the entire process if you opt for this. Make sure you ask about any side-effects or complications in case you have any doubts about the procedure.
Carrying on with Unplanned Pregnancy
If you decide to go ahead with an unintentional pregnancy, there are many things to think about carefully. Giving birth to baby and bringing a new life in the world can be an emotional rollercoaster for most women. You may be feeling nervous about the huge responsibility ahead, but make sure you are prepared for it. Getting overstressed will not help. In fact, it could lead to an adverse effect on you and your baby. You can think about the future and plan parenthood as the pregnancy progresses. Meet our doctors at KIMS Cuddles and learn everything that you can expect during pregnancy. Discuss your fears and anxiety with your better half, who will play a critical role during this period.
Avoiding Unplanned Pregnancy
An unexpected or unplanned pregnancy may come as an unpleasant surprise that disrupts your life. If you want to avoid an unwanted pregnancy, make sure you take the following precautions:
- Avoid penetrative sex if you are still in your early 20s or younger.
- Be prepared and learn about all available options of contraception. Ask your partner to use a condom every time you have sex or use birth control pills.
- Use an emergency contraceptive if you are unsure about the birth-control methods used.
- The morning-after pills are to be used only in case of emergencies. Make sure that this doesn’t become a habit or it may adversely affect your health.
An unwanted pregnancy can be a testing time for both you and your partner. It can be an emotionally draining experience which needs to be handled in a mature, sensitive and sensible manner. If you are unsure about your options, see our doctors at KIMS Cuddles who can help you ease into the next steps to take.