Sex Advice

Dear Dr. Locker: I think I might be pregnant. How can I know? Also, I am almost 18, and I live at home. What should I do?

Answer from Dr. Locker

Usually the first sign that helps a woman notice that she is pregnant is when she stops having her period. Other signs of pregnancy may be: breast tenderness, feeling tired, nausea or vomiting. If you have any of these symptoms, or you have another reason for thinking that you might be pregnant (like you had unprotected sex), then you should see a doctor immediately so you can get a pregnancy test. You can take a home pregnancy test which you can buy in any drug store, but those are not always as effective as the type of test that a doctor can give you. Also, if you are pregnant, the doctor needs to check your health and the health of your unborn child. If you are not pregnant, a doctor will want to figure out what you are having these symptoms, and talk with you about how to use birth control if you are having unprotected sex. I advise that you tell your parents that you think you are pregnant. It is very important that you talk with your parents! Even though you are almost 18, you still live with them, and they most likely want to help you with any health issue. They should be able to help you make decisions about your pregnancy if you are pregnant, or about how to protect yourself in the future if you are not. If, however, you feel very strongly that you do not want to talk to your parents right now, then you should know that you still can go to a doctor on your own. For more information, call Planned Parenthood at 1-800-230-PLAN, or check out their site at www.plannedparenthood.org.


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