Girlfriend missed her period? Think she might be pregnant? Here are five tips to help you through a pregnancy scare.
1. Take a pregnancy test.
You can buy one from the local pharmacy or grocery store so your girlfriend can take it at home. She should carefully follow all of the directions that come with the test for accurate results. If she’d prefer to get the test done by a medical professional or would like to confirm the results of the home pregnancy test, she should make an appointment with her doctor or at a professional clinic, such as Planned Parenthood.
2. Check the calendar.
Just because she’s a couple days late doesn’t necessarily mean she’s pregnant. A period isn’t actually considered “missed” until six weeks after her last period started. There may be other reasons why her period is late, such as increased stress levels, changes in body weight and composition, or other health conditions. Learn more about period cycles and how they may change.
3. Consider if birth control methods were used effectively.
When birth control methods aren’t used effectively, it increases the chances of pregnancy. For example, birth control pills, when taken every day at the same time, prevent pregnancy close to 100 percent of the time. But if your girlfriend forgets to take her pill at the same time every day, the pill is not as effective.
Also, condoms have a 99 percent chance of preventing pregnancy—if used correctly. If a condom was used, think back to whether you put it on right or if there were other birth control mishaps that may increase the chances of pregnancy.
4. Understand the truth about ejaculation.
Pre-ejaculatory fluid or “pre-cum” usually does not contain sperm and can’t by itself cause a pregnancy. However, some men’s reproductive systems leak a small amount of sperm into their pre-cum, so while highly unlikely, it is possible to get pregnant by pre-cum. Another thing to know is that if you had sex without protection and pulled out before ejaculation, you are at risk of pregnancy because you may have leaked a little inside her. Sperm can survive in the body for up to five days after having sex.
5. Talk to someone, including each other.
If your girlfriend is indeed pregnant and you have questions about parenthood, talk to your Medical Readiness NCO, your doctor, your chaplain, or a trusted friend or family member. It is also important to talk to each other. Be supportive, listen to your girlfriend, and encourage her to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. You can also confidentially discuss family planning options with a professional health educator at a health clinic such as Planned Parenthood online or by calling 800-230-PLAN (800-230-7526).
If you have other questions about sex, you can anonymously ask our experts or check out the Army Public Health Command’s Women’s Health Portal.