Teen Education

Sex may have consequences, includng the possibilities of becoming pregnant unintentionally or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Each day in the U.S., more than 2,000 teen girls get pregnant -- that's 750,000 girls a year, or 3 in 10 by age 20.  The best defense against teenage pregnancy is information.

Planned Parenthood is working to reach as many teens as possible with information about contraception and the importance of protecting themselves against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.  Planned Parenthood offers many interactive sites:

NEW!  PlannedParenthood.tumblr.comAsk Questions and Receive Accurate Information, confidentially.

PlannedParenthood.tumblr.com is an essential source for accurate information about contraception, pregnancy prevention, and staying healthy in general.  Tumblr  puts helpful, current, and engaging information in front of its followers on a daily basis and allows them to share it easily with their own online circles.  Tumblr’s built-in anonymous “Ask” feature, allows users to submit questions anonymously to be potentially featured on the blog.

Ask the Experts (http://asktheexperts.plannedparenthood.org/)A teen specific Planned Parenthood site to

Follow on Twitter@HeyPP and @PPFAQ on Twitter

Q&A with Dr. Cullins (http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/ask-dr-cullins-6602.htm).  Get expert answers to common sexual health questions from Dr. Vanessa Cullins, PPFA vice president of external medical affairs.  Here are three of the most common questions teens have about birth control and pregnancy prevention:

Q:        What are the chances of getting pregnant if my boyfriend isn’t using a condom and I’m not on birth control?

A:        If you’re having intercourse and not using birth control or condoms, your chance of getting pregnant is very high.  About nine out of 10 teens who have sex and do not use any kind of birth control become pregnant within one year.

 

It’s very important to use birth control if you do not want to get pregnant.  Young women have many safe and effective birth control options.  One way to weigh all your options is to use a tool we’ve developed — My Method.  You can also go to your nearest Planned Parenthood health center to talk with our trained staff and get birth control.

Q:        Is it possible to get pregnant if don’t get your period?

A:        Yes, it is.  Young women can get pregnant even if they haven't been having regular periods — and even if they’ve never had a period.

Here’s why:  an egg is released about two weeks before a woman has her period.  If she has intercourse without using birth control around the time the egg is released, the egg can meet sperm and she might get pregnant.  If she does not get pregnant, the lining of the uterus breaks down and the woman has her period.

A woman who has not had her period in a while — or a young woman who hasn’t had her first period yet — has no way of knowing when her ovary might release an egg.  So she could get pregnant BEFORE ever getting her period.  That's why it's important for women to use birth control any time they have sex.

Q:        I missed my period.  I should have had it last week.  Do you think I'm pregnant?

A:        "Do you think I'm pregnant?" is the most common e-mail question we receive.  We are asked this question thousands of times a year in a thousand different ways.  Over the course of their lives, women may wonder about pregnancy many times — after having unprotected sex, when their periods are late, or after experiencing other symptoms of early pregnancy.

This is one of the questions that we cannot answer.  The only way to be sure of pregnancy early on is to have a pregnancy test.  Pregnancy tests are accurate after a missed period some can even detect pregnancy a few days before a missed period.

            The Planned Parenthood “Am I Pregnant?” tool can help you find out if it's time for a pregnancy test.  And if you recently had sex and don’t want to get pregnant, it will let you know if the morning-after pill might help prevent pregnancy.

Women might think they are pregnant because they have some symptoms of pregnancy.  The most obvious symptom of pregnancy is a missed period.  Other possible symptoms include:

·         nausea

·         fatigue

·         sore or enlarged breasts

·         headaches

·         frequent urination

However, it is possible that any of these symptoms could be caused by a woman being premenstrual or sick with the flu or some other illness.

Many women, especially young women, have normally irregular periods, which can lead to a lot of worry about pregnancy.  Although pregnancy is the most common reason for missing a period, irregularity is also caused by illness, travel, worry, or stress.  Pregnancy testing is the only way to be sure.

Other Planned Parenthood online resources include Planned Parenthood Health and Planned Parenthood Info for Teens.

Finally, Planned Parenthood’s partner, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, has also produced an online tool to help women avoid unplanned pregnancy.  The organization’s Bedsider tool is an online birth control support network for women 18-29, with the goal of helping women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively


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