Understanding Pregnancy in Body

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Most women want to have kids at some point, but it's best to wait until you're a bit older, more experienced and better 'set up' for it.

In the meantime, you should know how it happens, how to avoid it and what to do if you think you are pregnant.

How does pregnancy happen?

You can get pregnant any time sperm gets into your vagina after you've started having periods.

Because they can survive a long time inside a woman's body, you can also get pregnant if you have sex just before your very first period.

Sperm can be released at any time during sex, not just when he climaxes or 'comes'.

Sperm can also cause pregnancy if they get onto hands, sex toys or anything else that comes into contact with your vagina.

How can I avoid getting pregnant?

The only 100% guaranteed way of not getting pregnant is not to have sex with a man (or boy).

There are many different methods of stopping pregnancy - these are called contraceptives.

And the only 100% foolproof way to avoid sexually transmitted infections is not to have sex!

What if I have an 'accident' during sex?

Maybe a condom burst, came off, or you got carried away and forgot to use one.

In this case, see your doctor or local pharmacist straight away. They may be able to give you emergency contraception that will stop you getting pregnant.

Emergency contraception can work up to 72 hours after you have had sex, but the sooner you get it the more likely it is to work.

They can also arrange tests to make sure you haven't caught a sexually transmitted infection.

I think I'm pregnant - what should I do?

Speak to your school nurse or doctor.

They can give you a free pregnancy test and will help you work out what to do next.

Pregnancy test kits can also be bought from chemists and most supermarkets. Read the instructions carefully.

If your period is late, it might not be because you're pregnant - see our page on late periods.

What if the pregnancy test is positive?

It's important you speak with someone about what's going on as soon as possible.

It's your choice whether or not to have the baby, but it's a big decision either way and there's a lot to think about.

Your doctor or school nurse is the best choice or you can visit a sexual health clinic.

They will be able to reassure you and help you decide what to do next.

It's also really important that you're not alone with this. Get extra support from your family or carers if you feel able, or from trusted friends.

If you don't want to speak to people you know just yet, you can call Childline free at any time on 0800 1111.