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What do periods have to do with pregnancy?

• Every month your ovaries release an egg which travels to your womb via the fallopian tubes.
• At the same time hormones are released which thicken the lining of the womb for the egg to embed in if it gets fertilised.
• If you have unprotected vaginal sex, millions of sperm swim to meet the egg when the man ejaculates.
• If the egg is fertilised by a sperm, this can lead to a pregnancy.
• If the egg does not get fertilised your body gets rid of it, along with the womb lining, and this process is called having a period.

What happens in the womb?

• If an egg is fertilised it then travels down the fallopian tubes and enters the womb.
• It then implants itself into the thickened lining of the womb, which enables it to get nutrients and grow.
• If conception occurs it does not mean that the egg will definitely become a baby.
• This is because not all fertilised eggs will implant in the womb and lead to a pregnancy.
• A pregnancy lasts nine months.

What is sperm?

• As boys get older their bodies start to produce sperm.
• Sperm are produced in the testicles (balls) and are released out of the penis through ejaculation.
• To help carry the sperm to reach an egg they are released in a whiteish liquid called semen.
• Millions of sperm are released when a man ejaculates, but it only takes one sperm to fertilise an egg.

How can I make sure I don’t get pregnant?

• If you use a condom, or other form of contraception, when you have penetrative vaginal sex the risk of getting pregnant is very small.
• Condoms can also act as a barrier to stop you catching sexually transmitted infections (including HIV) during sex.
• You can also become pregnant if a man has sex and does not ejaculate. This is because as soon as a man gets an erection, he produces a small amount of semen called precum which also contains sperm.
• Once inside the vagina the sperm from precum could also go and meet an egg. Remember - it only takes one to fertilise the egg!

Safe times to have sex

• There are times of the month when a woman is more likely to get pregnant. Unless you have been trained by a doctor, it is difficult to know when these times are. So the best way to protect yourself is to always use some kind of contraception if you don't want to get pregnant. 
• Once an egg has been released it lives for around a day but sperm can survive inside a woman’s body for up to seven days. So it is possible it could still be around to fertilise any eggs released after you have had sex.
• If you ever think you might be pregnant you can get more information about what to do at Brook

Is it true that…..?

There are a lot of myths about the risks of getting pregnant:

• Some people think you can’t get pregnant the first time you have sex.
• Or if you have sex standing up.
• Or if the boy pulls out before he ejaculates.
• Or if you are on your period.

NONE of these are true! It is possible to get pregnant any time you have unprotected sex, even when there is no ejaculation.

If you have a question or are unsure about anything then ask a Talksafe Counsellor or Peer Mentor.


NHS: Am I pregnant?

British Pregnancy Advisory Service: Young People

Last review: 25/09/11 - Next review: 31/09/17

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  • PenguinLOVER 22 July 2010 04:25 PM

    Everyone is getting preggers, I CAN'T COPE! HELP!x

  • Mentor

    Andrew 24 July 2010 08:27 PM

    Hey PenguinLOVER :) everyone is different, and like to experience different things at different times. They plan to carry out certain tasks at specfic times in their lives. So although young people may make good parents, and your friends are chooing have babies, doesn't mean you have too!! There are so many advantages to waiting to you're older, and you should embrace them with open arms. You might also be worried that because your friends are becoming parents, that it will change the type of relationship you share with your friends, but over time, the relationship we have with all the people in our lives change, and this is just one of those times, although it is happening for several of your relationships at once which is unfortunate. If you still feel worried or concerned about anything, you can always chat to a peer mentor, or counsellor :) we are always here to help, no matter what problem!!

  • Snow 21 January 2012 01:28 PM

    A mlilion thanks for posting this information.

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