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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Pregnancy and Parenting » Limits on Pregnancy Risk Questions

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Author Topic: Limits on Pregnancy Risk Questions
Executive Director & Founder
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We have recently changed our policies and guidelines around pregnancy risk assessment questions. Please red this if you are going to ask us for a risk assessment:

What are those? Questions like:
• "Am I pregnant?" (When you have not already taken or had a pregnancy test, the only way to find out.)
• "I did <some kind of sexual activity that CAN result in pregnancy>: will I become pregnant?"
• "I did <something made clear in our articles does NOT pose risks of pregnancy here>: can I be pregnant?"

If you DO have these kinds of questions: you can get the answers we would give you and walk yourself through the process of assessing your own risk via the following links:
• Pregnancy Scared?
• Chicken Soup for the Pregnancy Symptom Freakout's Soul
• Where DID I Come From? A Refresher Course in Human Reproduction

Planned Parenthood also has a pregnancy risk assessment tool here. (You may notice it is incredibly basic: that's not because Planned Parenthood is lazy, it's because whether or not there has been a pregnancy risk really is very basic, and is only about a few simple things, not a million different scenarios with a thousand details.)

If you engaged in penis-in-vagina intercourse or some other kind of DIRECT genital-to-genital contact, or had DIRECT contact between semen and a vulva BUT used one or more methods of contraception, you can also see the level of effectiveness each, or combinations of two, give you here to assess your level of pregnancy risk: The Buddy System: Effectiveness Rates for Backing Up Your Birth Control With a Second Method

If you DO -- by your own determination -- think you have had a pregnancy risk and it has been less than 120 hours since that risk, then you first have two choices to make, choices we need you to make largely on your own:
• You can seek out emergency contraception and use it to reduce your risk of pregnancy, OR
• You can not do that, either because it has been more than 120 hours, you cannot access EC, or you do not want to.

Either way, if you feel you have had a real pregnancy risk, whether you (or a partner) take EC/Plan B or not, you/they will need to wait until a next menstrual period to be able to find out if a pregnancy has occurred. If that period is late, seems unusual, or you just want to be sure, then you/they may take a pregnancy test at home or via a clinic or healthcare provider, or may take a test as early as two weeks after a risk, whichever comes first.

If you followed the directions of your test and the result is negative, there is not likely a pregnancy, but you can always repeat a test in a week or two to verify, if you like, or have a healthcare provider do a second test for you. If it is positive, there is a pregnancy. If you feel uncertain about results, you will need to consult with the test manufacturer or a healthcare provider.

We WILL still be glad to discuss questions like:
• How to use or get emergency contraception or how it works
• How to use or get a pregnancy test
• How to make a decision about what to do about a pregnancy IF you have already taken a pregnancy test and had a positive result, and make referrals as usual for prenatal care or abortion or adoptions services
• How to use or obtain reliable methods of birth control to better prevent pregnancy
• How to make different sexual choices or manage them differently to reduce your risk of pregnancy OR reduce pregnancy scares or anxiety
• How to find qualified help with consistent anxiety or obsessive thoughts about pregnancy risks (and just a general reminder: Scarleteen is a sex and relationships education organization and service: we are not qualified or equipped to help users with ongoing mental health issues like chronic anxiety or depression)

Why are we doing this?
To best manage our organization, its services and to do what we can to serve you best. We've been doing what we do for around fifteen years now, so we feel able to make sound judgments in this regard.

For you: Learning to assess possible risks yourself -- and ideally before engaging in any sexual activity by choice, not after -- is essential to being able to manage engaging in sexual activities if you choose to do so. Part of making sexual choices and managing a sexual life, and only doing so when that's something you're earnestly ready for, is having the ability to make and manage these decisions yourself and with anyone else directly involved or affected, and without having to call a health service, organization or provider, especially routinely, to talk you off a ledge.

As well, working this stuff through on their own to a large degree is what helps someone figure out what they really are and are not ready for, or what they do and don't want to handle, or can or cannot handle. If and when we're freaking all the time, rather than try and make those feelings go away or quell them, we need to pay attention to them and figure out what we need to change to feel differently.

Enabling users in habits or patterns that don't support them in a sexual life that is really best for them is always something we have to be sure to try and avoid, because if and when that happens, rather than helping, we can wind up standing in the way of you making your own best choices.

For Scarleteen: Step-by-step pregnancy risk assessments have taken up far too much of our direct service time. And as we continue to be very short-staffed and very underfunded, this is a problem when it comes to managing all we need to with our organization and our services in a given day.

As well, we have already taken the time to write a great deal of material to walk users through this process and have also answered so many risk assessments on the boards over the years, that there is literally nothing someone might worry may or may not potentially cause a pregnancy they couldn't find with a search of previous threads or the main site.

Lastly, we have been finding that when we set limits and boundaries around these kinds of questions with some users, we are often having those limits and boundaries stepped on or pushed, rather than having them respected, and that's just not working. Setting this kind of hard limit is something we, as a staff collectively, have decided is our next best step.

It's vital we manage our time and energy efficiently, and also vital that we do the best we can to benefit our users: we see doing this as something which accomplishes both.

While we do not know of other organizations which walk users through pregnancy risks as we have in the past and as some users ask for, if you feel unhappy with this decision and want to try another site to see if they will go through this with you instead, you can check out:

We thank you in advance for respecting the limits we are setting and our aim to support and serve you and the organization both as best we can.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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