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Author Topic: Pregnancy Tests?
lightmyfire
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I have read SO much conflicting information about pregnancy tests and when they can give a reliable result and etc, and I wanted to see if you could clear it up because my friend is freaked out.

Last night she had sex for the first time. She was on day 12 of her cycle, but her cycle is always super irregular. (She goes anywhere from a month and a half to two months between periods. I think its lucky but I can see in this situation - not so much). In any case, they did the pull-out method successfully (he managed to pull out and get out of the way before ejaculation) but now she's scared about the pregnancy risk associated with precum especially because the ideal woman ovulates at Day 14 and she doesn't know when she ovulates, etc. etc.

In any case, how soon can she take a pregnancy test?

I've read 10-14 days on a few sites. A couple say you can't tell until your missed period (but with an irregular period, how could you tell?) And all of the early pregnancy tests say things like "Up to 5 days before your missed period!"

What does this mean?

I mean, if you have sex early on in your cycle and it only takes 10-14 days after the risk to get a reliable result, why would it only say 5 days before your missed period? Are the results really not reliable until you've missed your period or your period is close at hand?

Posts: 25 | From: VA | Registered: Oct 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
cool87
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Your friend had a pregnancy risk by having unprotected sex. The withdrawal method is not effective : even if the guy does not ejaculate he can still pre-ejaculate, which often goes unoticed, and that also poses a pregnancy risk. I suggest your friend use a more reliable birth control method next time if she does not wish to become pregnant. The condom or the pill, when used properly, are far more effective than the withdrawal method. This might be a good thing for her to discuss with her GYN.

Given it's been less than 120 hours, your friend can still go get EC if she does not wish to become pregnant.

Your friend and her partner have been put at risk for STIs as well so if they both haven't been tested twice 6 months apart before or haven't remained monogamous since, this might be a good idea for them both to schedule an appointment to go get tested.

To answer your question about pregnancy tests, a pregnancy test is reliable 10-14 days after a risk OR on the first day of a missed period. That's what we generally advise here. But given some people have irregular cycles (and especially teenagers) and therefore can't really predict when their period is due, then it's best to take the pregnancy test 10-14 days after a risk to make sure the results will be accurate.

[ 01-17-2008, 02:42 PM: Message edited by: cool87 ]

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KittenGoddess
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quote:
Originally posted by lightmyfire:
I've read 10-14 days on a few sites. A couple say you can't tell until your missed period (but with an irregular period, how could you tell?) And all of the early pregnancy tests say things like "Up to 5 days before your missed period!"

What does this mean?

To clarify a bit further...

Pregnancy tests work by detecting hCG, a hormone produced during pregnancy. hCG levels rise throughout pregnancy. Each pregnancy test is "set" to detect whether or not there is hCG present in the urine to whatever level that test uses. Not all tests detect at the exact same level, which is why some can tell earlier than others. For example, First Response Early Result tests detect levels as low as 15mUI, most of your average store-brand tests detect as low as 25mUI, and Clearblue Easy Digital detects at 50mUI. Other tests detect at similar levels. The lower the level needed for detection, the sooner after conception you would be able to get a positive result. So if you get a positive urine pregnancy test, that means that the woman has at least whatever level of hCG in her body that the test is set to detect (her number may be higher, but the test just says whether it is there or not at the minimum level). Assuming you've become pregnant, with a test that detects around that 25mUI level, you should be able to get a positive result somewhere around 14 days after conception (which, for a woman with an average cycle, would be right around the time her period is expected).

The gist of it is though, that's it not so much how far from your period you are (although the commercials only talk about that)...it's how far you are from ovulation (since that's around the time one would conceive). Most women don't know when they ovulate (unless they are charting their cycles), so you're basically safest to assume that you could have ovulated (or will ovulate very soon after) around the time unprotected contact has occurred. If you did ovulate at that time and did conceive shortly afterward, you'd be able to rely on the results of a pregnancy test about 10-14 days after that. So that's why we suggest testing around 10-14 days after you have a risk.

Does that help?

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Sarah Liz

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lightmyfire
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Thank you KittenGoddess. It makes a lot more sense that way. =) If only other sites spelled it out like that...

My friend is still freaking out but she's relieved that she doesn't have to wait another four weeks or so to take a pregnancy test.

I'm trying to get her to start being safer with her boyfriend but I don't know what to say. Apparently he "doesn't feel anything" with condoms and that's why they decided to stop using a condom and do the pull out method. I could have shaken her when I heard that, because I know she knows better, but she's freaked enough without me going crazy, lol.

But how can I talk to her about talking to him? She refuses to start birth control because she doesn't want her mom knowing she's having sex and she doesn't have the money to get it herself, but if she wants to keep having sex and he refuses to put a condom on, she's gonna keep running into these risks. She says "I know, I know." when I tell her this, but I know she isn't going to do anything about it. Is there any way to get it through to her how dangerous it could be for her?

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KittenGoddess
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I'm glad that helped. Sometimes understanding the how's and the "science" that's going on behind the scenes allows it to make more sense. [Smile]

With regard to the condom question, Heather had something interesting to say on a similar issue earlier today...
quote:
Ultimately, in many ways,a condom is far more comfortable than the effects of the birth control pill, as an example, can be. If and when your partner starts using hormonal birth control she's got the potential to experience a few daily effects which can make sex or certain kinds of sex less comfortable for her.

And with condoms, since they're such a marginal intrusion -- especially when you're wearing them to insert yourself into a vagina because you like THAT constricting feeling on your penis -- and so minor per the effect they have, it's just a matter of getting used to them and of being confident in using them.

So, you may just need some practice. Too, you may want to recognize that some of this may not even be the condom exactly. When a condom is going on, after all, your brain is saying "Game on!" which is going to often feel like a little more psychological pressure to perform.

In other words, condoms do a TON less to diminish things than does hormonal birth control for women, overall. And, unfortunately, much of the problem with condoms is that we've got this overall cultural idea that they're somehow a big deal or a big drag...when really they're just a tiny piece of latex that is so thin that it really doesn't matter. I mean, we get people around here all the time that say a condom slipped off and they never noticed it...so in all reality, the sensation can't be THAT big of a difference. Much of it is likely in his head if he thinks that there's a difference. So just re-adjusting the way he thinks about condoms will likely work wonders.

Also, one of my biggest pet peeves is that people are not really picky about their condoms. They just use whatever...rather than searching for one that they really enjoy and that really suits their needs. Perhaps they would do better with a different brand or style of condom.

As to talking to your friend, the only thing you can do is suggest that she take steps to protect herself. If she doesn't want to tell her mom that she's sexually active and she can't afford a form of birth control that she is comfortable using...what does she plan to do when she gets and STI or becomes pregnant? Frankly, partners "refusing" to wear condoms is a pretty straight-forward issue to deal with...no condom, no sex. Period. So you might suggest she adopt a similar philosophy. You may wish to print out some of the articles for her here, or suggest that she come here and read. Ultimately though, it's her decision what she does with her body and her risks. You can only suggest and try to be a good friend to her. You might want to pass along these articles as a starter:

Ready or Not? The Scarleteen Sex Readiness Checklist
Be a Blabbermouth! The Whats, Whys and Hows of Talking About Sex With a Partner
Margaret Sanger's Disneyland: Choosing Contraceptives
Safe, Sound & Sexy: A Safer Sex How-To
STI Risk Assessment: The Cliff's Notes
Your Map to the Condom Aisle
Advice: What's the BEST condom?

[ 01-18-2008, 01:46 PM: Message edited by: KittenGoddess ]

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Sarah Liz

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