I Think I Might Be: Pregnant

There can be nothing more terrifying than a pregnancy scare. Whether your period is a day late, or a week, the Sexpress team have put together a list of what you can do if you think you might be expecting.

Firstly, what are the signs and symptoms of pregnancy?

Generally a missed period is your first sign that you might be pregnant. Though, if you’re one of those people who has irregular menstruation or if you’re on a hormonal contraceptive, such as the pill which can very from regulating to completing stopping your period, a late or missed period may not be a conclusive sign of pregnancy for you.

The best thing to do is to sit down somewhere quiet, and ask yourself a few questions:

  • What contraception have you been using? Has anything gone wrong?
  • If you are using hormonal birth control, have you changed it recently or started taking any medication that might have interrupted it?
  • If you are on the pill, did you forget to take any?
  • Is your period usually regular?

Other symptoms of pregnancy may include: lethargy or tiredness, tender breasts, the need to urinate more frequently, vomiting or nausea and food cravings.

Secondly, take a test.

There is two different methods of testing whether or not you’re pregnant; urine tests and blood tests.

Urine Test:

A urine test generally involves urinating into some sort of clean cup, and inserting the pregnancy test stick for a number of seconds into the urine, and then leaving the test to develop for a minute or so until it shows you an answer which is usually in the form of some sort of symbol/line. The tests always come with instructions, and they may vary depending on the brand.

It is generally recommended that you take this test after the date your period was due, as they will be more accurate.

You can purchase urine pregnancy tests in all pharmacies, supermarkets, online and even in Dealz for €1.50. A little known fact, the pregnancy test strips you can buy in Dealz are just as accurate as any of the more expensive branded options, and you can use a self service check out in the Dealz in Cork if you are feeling self conscious.

UCC Student health Services also offer pregnancy tests for €10, and Cork Sexual Health Centre offer them for free.

Blood Test:

If you opt to see a medical professional, you will probably get a blood test to see if you are pregnant. A blood test is exactly what it says on the tin; the doctor or nurse will take a blood sample and test it to see if you’re pregnant.

Blood tests are slightly more accurate than urine tests, and can confirm pregnancy from 10 days or even earlier. They are also more expensive, and you may also face a consultation fee.

How to tell someone you think you might be pregnant:  

You don’t have to tell anyone that you think you might be pregnant, but you may want the support from a friend or your partner. This differs from person to person, but the easiest way to tell someone is generally in a face to face setting. You might want to wait until after you take the test, or you might want the support before you take it, either way it is entirely up to you.

What are my options:

I’m not going to delve too deep into what options are available to you, if you do find yourself pregnant, but, the Irish Family Planning Association (ifpa.ie) offers non-biased advice, counselling and training courses. They can be contacted on 1850 49 50 51.

If you do find out that you’re not pregnant, you should also probably take some time and reconsider what contraception you use; e.g if you’re not using a hormonal contraceptive, such as the pill, it might be time to consider taking one. This is something you should talk to a doctor about, as you probably don’t want to have another pregnancy scare in the future. UCC Student Health Services do a contraceptive consultation for €20, they can be contacted on +353 (0)21 4902311.