how did they get pregnant if they didn’t want to get pregnant?

Questions and discussion for those who are or have been pregnant (or have pregnant partners), parenting or about options with an unintended pregnancy.
No pregnancy scare posts here, please.
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This area of the boards is for:
• People (or their partners) who are or have been actually pregnant: not might be, not worry they are, but who have verified a pregnancy with a home pregnancy test, a test from a clinic, a doctor's exam or with birth or a termination
• People (or their partners) who are pregnant looking for help and support choosing between remaining pregnant and then choosing to parent or arrange an adoption, or terminating a pregnancy with an abortion
• People looking for help or support after making any of those choices, or making them with a partner
• People looking for various kinds of information about pregnancy, and options with pregnancy, including things like healthcare and birth choices
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Please do NOT post pregnancy scares here, or "Am I pregnant?"-s. If and when you are currently or have been pregnant, especially unintendedly, having someone talk about their fears who is clearly not pregnant, or who is not even willing to take a test to find out can feel deeply maddening and frustrating. Talking about a pregnancy fear as if it were an actual pregnancy is also deeply disrespectful to people dealing with actual pregnancies.

If you have questions about if you should seek out emergency contraception, take a pregnancy test, how methods of contraception work, or what things you have chosen to do may or may not have presented pregnancy risks, those questions belong in another forum, such as the Sexual Health forum, the Bodies forum or the Ask Us forum. Thank you!
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how did they get pregnant if they didn’t want to get pregnant?

Unread postby Lola2018 » Tue May 01, 2018 9:19 pm

Hi i was just wondering how does an unwanted pregnancy happen ?
I have asked many questions here of Wether this or that might get me pregnant and they all are quite dumb.
So I just don’t know how can someone have a real pregnancy scare.. how can someone be late and say “I need a pregnancy test” and not think back in the day they had sex “maybe I need EC”.
It seems to me like getting pregnant is not such a big mystery. Or am I wrong ? Can you get pregnant without knowing you had a pregnancy risk ? That’s what scares me that’s why I ask all my “could I be pregnant?” questions. I know girls who got pregnant and went through all the stress of buying a pregnancy test, telling their boyfriend and their parents.. and creating a new life. And I wonder how did they get pregnant if they didn’t want to get pregnant?
I get scared that could happen to me even if I use condoms and they don’t break. You know ? It scares me a lot.

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Re: how did they get pregnant if they didn’t want to get pregnant?

Unread postby Sunshine » Thu May 03, 2018 8:56 am

I don't know any statistics but in the cases I personally know of, the unplanned pregnancy happened because someone's hormonal birth control failed (missed pills, vomiting / diarrhea etc) and they weren't using a barrier. Or the pregnancy was created at a time when they were under the influence of alcohol or otherwise distracted and the barrier wasn't used properly and / or they didn't notice it slipped off or broke.

I can also imagine that some unplanned pregnancies happen through lack of proper sex education and / or access to contraception.

Some pregnancies weren't exactly planned but they are also not unwelcome. Circumstances being right, some couples choose to wait and see rather than actively trying to conceive.

As for late periods, some people have a very irregular cycle and are just used to their period being late. I went to the doctor with abdominal pain and came out with the diagnosis "pregnant" before I had even considered taking a pregnancy test (in my case, it was planned, and I was still surprised when it happened).

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Re: how did they get pregnant if they didn’t want to get pregnant?

Unread postby Heather » Fri May 04, 2018 10:50 am

There are so many scenarios in the reality that you're asking about. Sunshine listed a few, but also don't forget a few more things:
• not everyone has access or reliable access to methods of contraception, including EC
• EC isn't 100% effective, so even people who use it still can become pregnant
• not everyone is aware of what exactly can cause pregnancy to know to even think about it until after it happens
• some people don't feel able to use contraception or ask for help with it from a partner
• some people don't want to get pregnant, but also don't want to, or can't get it together to, use contraception, including EC
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Re: how did they get pregnant if they didn’t want to get pregnant?

Unread postby amity » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:53 pm

Hey Lola2018,

Like others here have mentioned, lack of knowledge about how to use contraception can play a role in unplanned pregnancies. Further, even if someone has good information about and access to contraception, they unfortunately may still feel uncomfortable talking about it with their partner.

Another scenario when someone might get pregnant is if they have used a condom that is past its expiration date or stored incorrectly, such as in extreme temperatures for a long time-- like inside of a super hot vehicle all summer. Or, someone may open a condom with scissors or teeth (instead of tearing the wrapper properly) and accidentally puncture the condom without realizing.

However, if you are storing and using condoms correctly every time, it is extremely unlikely that you will become pregnant. Do you think it's possible that your frequent fear about pregnancy is related to other kinds of anxiety? Personally, in the past before I was even sexually active, when my period was a day late I would get these nagging anxious thoughts that I might have been pregnant, even though that was physically impossible because I'd had no sexual contact. I think that my anxiety was related to the negative, fear-based sex education at my high school that taught us to be extremely afraid of sex and its consequences. When I grew a healthier, more positive attitude toward sex, this unrealistic fear that I was pregnant started to go away.

I know that the fear you're dealing with can be really hard. Even though you're feeling scared, it sounds like you are very aware of safer sex practices and are looking for answers from legit sources (like Scarleteen!), which is awesome and shows that you are taking responsibility for your health.

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Re: how did they get pregnant if they didn’t want to get pregnant?

Unread postby Lola2018 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 5:46 am

Hi everyone thank you so much. I did have the same fear as amity growing up. It’s calming to know someone one else went through something similar. Right now I’m so much more calm (I also believe it is due to being informed).
Heather and sunshine also helped me thank you! You scenarios helped me make more sense out of the “why or how”. Because I hear friends say they have a pregnancy scare and they haven’t had their period for who knows how long.. and I’m like mmm you should know if you’re pregnant right ?
Like you shouldn’t be scared or wondering. And that’s why I was confused. In my mind is like you have sex without protection you might be pregnant. You have sex with protection but you see the Condom broken, or you forgot your pill then you might be pregnant. Other wise there shouldn’t be a possibility of pregnancy, or any reason to be worried.
I thought that these pregnancy scare stories where something like “mystical” that you get a pregnancy scare (a real one where you actually end up pregnant), when you take your pill and the condom doesn’t break and girls still get pregnant? Because of some other reason I was not aware of (that’s what I wanted to know) That just doesn’t happen.

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Re: how did they get pregnant if they didn’t want to get pregnant?

Unread postby Stella » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:27 pm

Hi Lola,

I was 38, and I already had two kids and had sex with my husband when I was TOTALLY SURE I wasn't fertile that week, so I didn't worry about a condom when we got "carried away," and SURPRISE, I found out I was pregnant a couple weeks later! I was super-embarrassed, I was 38 and totally knew how birth control worked! But then my close friend (who was 37), who is a DOCTOR, got pregnant exactly the same way, having fun sex with her husband when she was TOTALLY SURE she wasn't ovulating so she didn't need a condom!

So it is a thing that can totally happen even to full-grown adults who are normally very responsible (and who might even be MEDICAL DOCTORS). We were both fortunately in situations where a baby was not a crisis as we were both married to partners we liked, and both could afford another child -- both things that are luxuries! -- but less-than-responsible sexual decisions can happen to anyone, even middle-aged adults with super-responsible jobs who completely understand how reproduction works!

I am lucky that my "bonus baby" is the light of my life (and my husband's!), but giving birth at 39 was super-tough! It was a tough birth, a tough recovery, and I was super-exhausted for months on end. A 39-year-old body is a lot less able to deal with an infant than a 30-year-old body is!

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