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But then he put a condom on, is there still a risk?

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Griz asks:

So this all started a month ago, I had been on my period for five days and I had sex with my boyfriend during my period. Around four days later we had sex again. Then we had it once more a week after. He usually goes in me for like 15-30 seconds without a condom, and then he puts a condom on. We've been thinking that I am pregnant, but instead of going anywhere to get checked, we're just waiting for me to get my period, because he thinks he didn't pre-ejaculate and I didn't know you couldn't feel pre-ejaculation until I read other peoples questions and your answers. We're just so afraid that I might be pregnant. We're both young and not ready for a baby. I AM SO SCARED! I can't even explain I have a bright future ahead of me. Is there a possibility I can be pregnant? I am going to keep waiting for my period its supposed to come next week, but what do I do? I am so afraid to even think about it. PLEASE HELP ME!!!! What are early signs of pregnancy?

Sarah replies:

You're right, unprotected sex (even without ejaculation) has both pregnancy and STI risks. Pre-ejaculate can contain sperm and it's not really something that one is going to "feel" when it happens (especially inside the vagina). Also, it's not always possible for men to pull out before any ejaculation happens at all. That's why we always stress the importance of using condoms for ALL genital contact. While the risks with pre-ejaculate are typically less than those with full ejaculation, there is still some risk associated with any unprotected contact.

It sounds like (based upon your description) it's too late for emergency contraception, which can be taken as late as 120 hours after your risk (though the sooner you take it, the better). So at this point, you've basically got two choices. You can either wait for your period to show or take a pregnancy test once it's been at least 10-14 days since your risk (or once your period is late). At that point, you will be able to take a pregnancy test and expect a reliable result. If you take a test and it comes up negative but your period is still a no-show, you can re-test in a week to verify your result. You will also want to head to your health care provider soon for a full gynecological exam (if you haven't had one recently) and for STI screenings since you have had unprotected contact (your partner should also be tested).

As to pregnancy "signs," it's pretty worthless to worry about those. Most of the signs/symptoms of pregnancy don't show up until well after a period has been missed. The typical signs that people talk about (things like morning sickness, breast tenderness, etc.) are related to the hormonal changes that happen in your body when you are pregnant. Those hormone levels won't be high enough to cause those things until well after you would get a positive test. Also, different women experience different symptoms related to pregnancy. Some women have virtually no symptoms (or don't have them until much later), others have only one or two, some have every symptom it's possible to have. Some symptoms of other things can also be very similar to those traditional pregnancy signs that people talk about. For example, it's very possible to mistake a simple stomach bug or stress related tummy upset for "morning sickness" if you're worried and looking at everything your body does as a possible sign of pregnancy. So don't worry about signs; either wait for your period or take a test.

So what if you miss a period and/or get a positive pregnancy test? Well, your first step is to head to your doctor or local Planned Parenthood or other reputable clinic (do be careful about what clinic you choose, since they are not all created equal). You will want to have the pregnancy verified by a medical professional and then talk with someone about your options. You have essentially three options when it comes to dealing with a pregnancy: abortion, adoption, or parenting. If you choose to have an abortion, you only have a certain amount of time to do so. If you plan to continue a pregnancy, then it's vital to start getting prenatal care right away and to start planning either for an adoption or to parent yourself. There should be folks available at the clinic you choose to discuss your specific situation and your options with you. We also have several articles on this site that might be helpful for you to look at:

If you are pregnant, remember that this is your choice. Whether you choose parenting, adoption, or abortion, no choice is automatically right or wrong. You are not a bad person for making one choice over another. You must look at the options and at what is best for you right now and make that choice. A trained counselor at a good clinic will be able to help you discuss your options.

Whether you are pregnant from this contact or not, it sounds like it's time for you and your partner to sit down and have a good heart-to-heart about what's going on when you are sexually active. It is important to make sure everybody understands the risks associated with all sexual activities and that you're both on board with taking the appropriate precautions. You may want to check out the following links and share them with your partner:

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.