Fast facts about pregnancy:
- Women are most fertile during the 14 days before their menstrual cycle is supposed to start.
- Ovulation can be determined by changes in the cervical mucus – mucus is thin and there is a marked increase.
- Implantation of the blastocyst (fertilized egg) into the endometrium can cause cramping and spotting (bleeding). Implantation happens 5-6 days are fertilization.
- After implantation, HCG is released which is the hormone home pregnancy tests recognize. HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced during pregnancy.
- Pregnancies last 40 weeks or about 10 months, not nine months.
- The gender of foetus can be determined by a scan after 16 – 17 weeks of pregnancy.
- Weight gain is attributed to foetal weight, uterine weight, extra blood volume, placental weight and amniotic fluid
- The foetus cannot “feel” the penis during sex.
- Most women can have sex throughout pregnancy; changing to a more comfortable position as the tummy grows.
- Female orgasms do not hurt the foetus.
- Spotting may occur after sex due to increased blood supply to the vagina and cervix.
- It is possible to become pregnant immediately after birth.
- Breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy
- Baby blues are common; depression should be reported.
- A missed period
- Abdominal bloating
- Food aversions
- Frequent urination
- Mood swings
- Tender, swollen breasts
How does pregnancy happen?
Pregnancy happen when semen gets into the vagina or in contact with the vulva. Oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, body rubbing and kissing does not cause pregnancy – unless sperm gets in contact with the vagina.
Can Pre-ejaculate Cause Pregnancy?
Pre-ejaculate is the liquid that oozes out of the penis during sexual excitement before ejaculation, when semen spurts out. It’s also called “pre-cum.” Pre-ejaculate usually does not contain sperm, but in some men a very small amount of sperm may be found in their pre-ejaculate. So the chance of getting pregnant from pre-ejaculate is much less than the chance of getting pregnant from semen, but there’s still a very small chance.
How long does it take to get pregnant after sex?
Pregnancy does not start immediately after sex. It can take the sperm up to 6 days to reach the female egg (ovum) and fertilize it. Then it can take another 6-10 days for the fertilized egg to travel to the uterus and implant in the lining of the uterus wall. The fertilized egg then start secreting human chorionic gonadotropin to keep the pregnancy in tact. This hormone is detected by urine and blood tests, and usually confirms pregnancy.
Can I Get Pregnant if His Penis Gets Near My Vagina but Not in It?
Pregnancy can happen when sperm gets in the vagina or on the vulva. The most likely way to become pregnant is through unprotected vaginal intercourse.
However, if partners engage in body rubbing with their clothes off, there is a chance that sperm may come into contact with the vulva or vagina — which can cause pregnancy, even if partners don’t actually have vaginal intercourse.
If partners are concerned about the risk of pregnancy from body rubbing, they may want to consider using condoms or another method of birth control. Condoms also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections that can be spread in ejaculate and pre-ejaculate.
If partners have reached the point where they may start having vaginal intercourse, they should talk about what kind of birth control they want to prepare themselves with before they start having intercourse.
What time of the month can I fall pregnant?
You can get pregnant if you have sex up to 5 days before you ovulate or up to 24 hours after you ovulate. However, not everyone ovulates on day 14, so it’s tough to tell when you ovulate unless you use ovulation predictors and chart your temperature to confirm that you did ovulate.
Following ovulation, your temperature can increase by 0.4 to 1.0 degrees. You won’t feel the shift, but you can detect it by using a basal body temperature (BBT) thermometer. This temperature spike indicates that you’ve ovulated, because releasing an egg stimulates the production of the hormone progesterone, which raises body temperature. You have to chart your body temperature everyday to be able to notice the spike in temperature. Note: a basal thermometer differs from an ordinary thermometer and it is available at chemists.
Self help – Emergency Contraception
If you had unprotected sex and fear pregnancy, you can take the ”morning after pill”. The morning after pill is effective if started within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. If started within 72 hours, EC can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 75 to 89 percent. EC triggers menstruation and removes the lining of the uterus so that the fertilized can’t plant into it. So, the sooner it’s taken, the better.
Emergency contraceptive pills often referred to as the “morning after pill” is a commonly used method to prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse and can be effective up to 72 hours after intercourse. It helps to prevent 3 out of 4 pregnancies that would have happened.
Emergency contraceptive pills (high dose hormone pills) are available at most South African pharmacies and is available over-the-counter without a prescription if you are over 16 years old. If you are under the age of 16 years, you will require a prescription from a doctor to purchase the morning after pill at your pharmacy.
Emergency contraceptives work by delaying or inhibiting the release of an egg (ovulation), altering the luteal phase length, and also possibly inhibiting the implantation of a fertilized egg. In the unlikely event that implantation does occur, EC does not interrupt the pregnancy or put the foetus at risk.
Side-effects can be quite severe, but it usually only lasts 24-72 hours. It can include nausea, abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, fatigue and breast tenderness. If vomiting occurs within the first 2 hours of taking the pill, it might be necessary to take another dose. Consult with your health care provider. Using the morning after pill has no long term or serious side-effects and there is no limit on how many times you can use it per year. Do not use it as a family planning method though – there are better products available for long term contraception.
Pregnancy tests look for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in the urine or blood. HCG, sometimes called the pregnancy hormone, is only there when a woman is pregnant. There are two kinds of pregnancy tests: urine and blood.
URINE TEST: 4-6 WEEKS COST: + R30.
Women and girls whose menstrual periods are one or more weeks late are advised to have a pregnancy test. These tests are free at primary health clinics and other health facilities. However, they are not always available. Pregnancy testing kits can be bought at a pharmacy. The best tests are those that notice the smallest amounts of HCG, so look for one in the 15 to 30 HCG level.
Home pregnancy test kits claim to be 97 to 99 % accurate if they are used correctly. That’s why following the directions are so important. Also, check the expiration date on the package—an old kit won’t give you accurate results.
At a clinic tests are free. The nurse will ask for a urine sample, which will be tested. Results is available immediately.
Once pregnancy has been confirmed there are several options. If the client wants to keep the pregnancy, she will be referred to health facilities called Midwife Obstetric Units (MOUs). These are birthing units run by midwives in the community for primary health care patients. If the mother does not want her pregnancy, she is entitled to ask about other options including Termination of Pregnancy. Take note: you have to get a referral letter from your clinic to your nearest hospital if you want an abortion.
If you are a first-time visitor to a health facility, you will be asked to fill out a form and a folder will be opened. Bring your ID book, any medication you are taking, and a clinic or hospital card, if previously registered at the facility.
BLOOD TEST: 6-7 WEEKS. COST: R150
- Go to your nearest clinic or a professional medical practitioner
- Complete pregnancy test form
- Blood test, your doctor will draw blood sample and send it to a laboratory for analysis
- Blood test results – few hours or days
A sonar can be done by 8 weeks to determine the fetal heart beat or by 16-17 weeks to determine gender & fetal health.
This is a sonar of early pregnancy – 6-8 weeks.
How to determine gestation (how many weeks)
Last Menstrual Period: Using the first day of your last menstrual cycle, gestational age can be determined (plus or minus 2 weeks.) The doctor adds 280 days to the first day of your last menstrual cycle to determine a due date. Based on that number and today’s date, gestational age is estimated. This number is not always accurate, but it is a good indication of foetal size.
Most teenagers don’t plan to get pregnant, but many do. Teenage pregnancy is pregnancy in a female under the age of 20 (when the pregnancy ends). It is estimated that a third of young girls in South Africa becomes a mother by the age of 19. If you plan to be sexually active, you need to use contraception. Sex makes babies.
Statistics of teen pregnancy in South Africa:
- 2011 – 68 000
- 2012 – 81 000
- 2013 – 99 000
The high rates of teen pregnancies are driven by
- poverty and ”Blesser culture”
- high rates of gender based violence
- poor access to contraceptives
- lack of pregnancy termination facilities
- poor sex education
- broken families & absent fathers
Even worse than the round about 80 000 babies born to teens, is the fact that half of all pregnancies in South Africa end in abortion. 25% Of these are performed in the second trimester of pregnancy.
Risks of teen pregnancy:
- Losing your freedom – taking care of a baby ties you down.
- Developing depression because of an unwanted pregnancy
- Facing poverty – because you never finish your studies
- Never finishing school – drop out to work a low-wage job
- Health risk for teen mom – includes high blood pressure, anemia.
- Health risk for baby – includes per-mature birth, damage from substance abusing mom
- Babies has higher risk of being abused and neglected
- Teen moms suffer frequently from psychological issues – denial, guilt, narcissism, low self-esteem because of the pregnancy.
Teen pregnancies carry extra health risks to the mother and the baby. It is important not to hide your pregnancy – there are to many health risks involved and to many decisions to be taken. Pregnancies do not just disappear. Face it and ask for help as soon as you know.
Do not try and get rid of a pregnancy with the help of people on the street, sangoma’s or friends. There are safe ways to deal with unwanted pregnancies. Abortions can be done up till the 12 week of pregnancy free of charge. Read more about abortion in South Africa: Abortion
The father has no right on the baby till it is born, married or unmarried. It is your decision alone how to handle your pregnancy. He is obliged by Law to pay maintenance for the child’s upkeep if you decide to keep the baby. He has equal right to the baby when it is born, unless a court decides otherwise.
To plan or not to plan?
Should we plan for a baby or just take it as it comes? A baby needs both mother and father to thrive. A child is a very costly, life long responsibility. Plan to have a baby – don’t’ just have them.
What young people say on the MOBIEG Helpline: (12 – 35 years)
- I have to have sex with him, or he moves on to someone else.
- He says he loves me and wants a child. I have been with him for 3 months.
- He says he wants a child, although he is married with three kids.
- Everyone is doing it.
- He hangs around in shebeens and often doesn’t come home. I know he is cheating. I am scared of HIV and pregnancy.
- My mom encouraged it, as long as he buys me gifts. (airtime/ clothes/ groceries / cell phone)
- He insists on not using a condom. He hurts me if I refuse sex.
- I didn’t think I would fall pregnant. I only did ”it” three times.
- He demands sex and nude photos to have something to remember me by (long distance relationship).
- When I fell pregnant, he told me he already has a wife and children, and he just left.
- When I told him I was pregnant, he blocked me on his phone.
- When I told him I was pregnant, he told me to get an abortion and broke up with me.
- When I told him I was pregnant he ran away. I never saw him again.
- When I told him I was pregnant, he kicked me in my stomach and told me to get rid of it.
- When our baby was born, he left me and told me he did not have money to give me.
* See story of joy at the end of the article
If you’re a pregnant, you can help yourself and your baby by:
Visit your clinic for check-ups every month.
Taking your prenatal vitamins for your health and to prevent some birth defects: Folic Acid / Multivitamin
Avoiding smoking, alcohol and drugs
Using a condom, if you are still having sex, to prevent sexually transmitted diseases that could hurt your baby.
Questions we can help with:
• How do I know I am pregnant?
• When can I do a urine test to see if I am pregnant?
• How early will a blood test show I am pregnant?
• Where can I have an abortion legally done?
• What is the cost of a legal abortion?
• When is the cut-off time for legal abortions?
• What are the risks of pregnancy for me if I am under 16 years old?
• How do I decide what to do with my pregnancy: abortion, adoption or keep it?
• Where do I go for a paternity test?
• How do I get the father to pay maintenance?
• How do I tell my parents I’m pregnant?
If you have more questions, can text chat to an online facilitator on the MOBIEG Live Chat.
It is a free service and you may stay anonymous. Remember – the earlier you ask for help in pregnancy, the better.
We are online Sunday – Thursday 19h00 – 21h30
If you suspect you might be pregnant, you can do a self-test:
*A story of joy
This beautiful family lost their first babies, twins, when they were born prematurely. When the mama, Mia, got pregnant again through fertility drugs, they were told there were 6 fertilized eggs in her womb. They chose to keep them all, even though that meant they might lose them all. And here they all are, healthy and happy.
Babies need both parents to thrive.