By Alicia Williams
Sex is an activity people take part in during some point of their lifetime. Whether sex is consensual or nonconsensual, there are risks that come with it. In a perfect world there would be no sexually transmitted infections (STI), rapes nor nonconsensual sex, but we don’t live in a perfect world, and issues like those do in fact exist. To bring attention to a more talked about issue, the topic of pregnancy arises. Pregnancies are becoming more and more common in current society whether you are young, and following the MTV model of 16 and Pregnant, or 20 in college and had a slip up, there are ways to handle unplanned pregnancies. Whether you choose to be abstinent, engage in sexual activities, or have casual hookups, contraceptive methods should always be used. Although condoms and birth controls are all possible ways of preventing pregnancy, they are not always completely reliable.
Have you ever seen the awkward commercial that starts by saying, “The minute your birth control fails you..” well this is the stuff. If in the moment your contraceptive method fails, or you just aren’t protected, there is an emergency contraceptive to use. Plan B, also known as the “morning after pill” can be bought at a local pharmacy, behind the counter, if you are at least 18 years old. This pill works to prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of your contraceptive failure. The sooner you begin the contraception the better. When the dose is taken within 72 hours, the risk of pregnancy is reduced by 75-89%. The emergency contraception contains one of the hormones found in birth control called progestin. The hormone works by thickening a woman’s cervical mucus, preventing a sperm from joining with an egg. Plan B is not to be used as a regular birth control method, and it doesn’t protect against STIs.
If you plan to be sexually active on a regular basis, doctors recommend that you use a birth control (monthly dosage) in order to prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. Birth Control, pill methods, has been around for 50 years, and has changed the way that women can control their reproduction. There are many forms of birth control available in monthly dosages, as well as no dosages. The money saving, and less stressful form of birth control is abstinence.
The number one way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence. Abstinence is seen in many different ways such as the choice to refrain from all types of sexual activities. Another view is “outer course”, where you choose to engage in sexual acts that don’t involve vaginal intercourse. Being continuously abstinent can prevent pregnancy as well as prevent unintended sexual transmitted infections.
Made of latex, or plastic, and sometimes lambskin condoms are used to cover the penis during sexual activities. They are used to prevent sexual transmitted infections and pregnancies. If used correctly there is a 2% chance that a woman can get pregnant. Along with male condoms there are female condoms that are plastic pouches inserted into the vagina.
You place the patch on the skin of your buttocks, stomach, upper torso or upper outer arm once a week for 3 consecutive weeks. The patch releases combined hormones that protect against pregnancy for a month.
There are many brands of a monthly pill form of birth control available on the market. You take one pill daily, preferably around the same time in order to have the best results. The pill can be used to change the timing of your period, as well as protect against pregnancies. You complete one pill pack a month for birth control protection for a month. As with all birth control options, you must begin the birth control regimen for a month before you are fully protected.
The Birth Control Shot:
The shot, which is also known as, Depo- Provera is given through the arm. The shot is an injection of a progestin and not estrogen, which is an advantage of the shot, and prevents pregnancy for three months. The shot must be received every 12 weeks and can cause weight gain, a loss of a monthly period, as well as a change in sex drive.
NuvaRing is a hormonal ring that is inserted into the vagina for 3 weeks, taken out for 7 days and a new ring is inserted 7 days later. The ring protects you for one month against pregnancy. The ring is held together by muscles within the vaginal walls and cannot be felt. It can remain in during intercourse as well.
Being on Birth control should not be grounds for you not to use condoms. Things happen, and mistakes can be made that can result in pregnancy. Although there are many pre-preventative measures to unplanned pregnancies things still happen and when they do the best thing to do is to remain calm. If you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms such as vomiting, or disappearance of a menstrual cycle, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to receive a pregnancy test. If you are in fact pregnant, it is not the end of the world. Taking responsibility and speaking with your partner is a good first step in order to discuss your options. Before rushing to a conclusion, consider the many options that are available to you. There are many resources on campus, as well as referrals in the community for counseling, and services that can aid you in making an informed decision about your future.
Proceeding with the Pregnancy:
Whether you are ready or not to become a parent, one choice is carrying the baby full term. It may seem like a trying time in your life but babies are often seen as a new blessing and beginning in trying times. The decision to carry and raise the baby is one that is taken more than other decisions, and many people find that having a baby changes their life for the better. After choosing to proceed with the pregnancy, finding an OB/GYN is beneficial in order to begin taking vitamins that can aid in the healthy growth of your baby.
If you are not ready to become a parent, you can still give the gift of life by choosing adoption. Through careful planning with agencies you can select a stable, loving family to care for your baby. Dependent on the agencies, you can choose the family in which your child will go, as well as what kind of relationship you want with the child. If you choose to have an open adoption, you can remain in contact with the child and no searching will be needed later in life. If you choose to have a closed adoption, you will be anonymous in the child’s life as well as the child nor family will be able to search for you. If in the event you are not in a relationship with the birth father, or you can’t agree on adoption, Ohio law doesn’t hold you responsible for talking to him about adoption before or after the birth.
Abortion is a very touchy subject in society today. Whether you are pro-life, or pro-choice, it is ultimately your decision of whether or not to go through with the procedure. An abortion is a short procedure in which a different process can be performed depending on your length in pregnancy. Vacuum aspiration is used to terminate pregnancies up to 13.5 weeks. A dilation and evacuation procedure is used to terminate pregnancies from 14 weeks through 24 weeks. Depending on the state law, abortions can’t be done after 24 weeks, and the farther along you are the higher the fees.
Pregnancy is not the end all to be all to the world. There are many people who go through this experience daily, and at different ages. The best way to handle an unsuspected pregnancy is to remain informed and make informative decisions about the forward movement of your future.