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Questions and Answers

What Are the Signs of Pregnancy? Am I Pregnant?

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There are many signs of pregnancy, but the only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test. You can get one at a pharmacy or health clinic. They’re most accurate if you take them 10 days after you had sex.

To get pregnant, a few things need to happen.

  1. You need to have started puberty
  2. You need to have a vagina, uterus, ovaries, and Fallopian tubes.
  3. Semen or pre-cum has to get in or near the vagina. This might happen from vaginal sex, anal sex, or a penis ejaculating in or near the vagina.

If one or more of these hasn’t happened, it’s very unlikely someone is pregnant.

My period is late!

There can be many different reasons for a late period. Late or early periods are very common, especially in someone’s teens. Some people’s cycles only become regular years after their first period.

Things like hormone levels, stress, diet, new birth control or exercise can all change a cycle. These can be especially common in teenagers as your body changes. Being stressed about pregnancy can also make your period late!

I got my period after having sex. Is there a chance I could be pregnant?

If you get your period, you’re not pregnant. But, some people think they have their period when they’re actually spotting, which can be an early sign of pregnancy.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between spotting and a period. Compared to a period, spotting:

  • Doesn’t have as heavy flow. There’s less blood coming out.
  • Is a lighter colour.
  • Starts and stops in a way that a period doesn’t.
  • Lasts for less time than your period.

If you have your usual level of heaviness for the same amount of time as your periods usually last, you’re almost definitely not pregnant! If you’re still worried you might be pregnant, you can take a pregnancy test ten days after you had sex.

What are the early signs of pregnancy?

The most common sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Any other signs of pregnancy will take a while to show up, usually at least a week or two. It’s important to know that early signs of pregnancy can also be signs of other medical issues, or not mean anything at all! The only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test. That being said, here are some of the other early signs of pregnancy:

  • sore breasts
  • extra tiredness
  • stronger sense of smell
  • more sensitive stomach
  • needing to pee more often
  • backaches
  • cramps that are similar to period cramps
  • constipation and bloating

If you have any of these symptoms a day or two after having sex, they’re not signs of pregnancy, since these signs take at least a few weeks to appear. Most of these symptoms can also be signs of changes in hormones, especially around puberty and when you’re a teen.  Many of these are also similar to symptoms you may get before and during your period.

Where can I get a pregnancy test?

If you think you might be pregnant, it’s simple to get a pregnancy test from a pharmacy. You can find pregnancy tests in the “family planning” aisle. Pregnancy tests usually cost $15-$20. You can also get accurate tests for much cheaper at dollar stores.

No matter how old you are, you can buy a pregnancy test. If you feel uncomfortable about buying one, you can always pretend it’s for a friend or sibling!

You can also visit a clinic or CLSC to take a pregnancy test with a nurse. At a CLSC, the test will be free if you have RAMQ (Quebec health insurance). If you’re 14 or over, a nurse can give you a pregnancy test without having to tell your parents or guardians. If you’re under 14, the nurse may need permission from your parents or guardians. You can call 811 to find the nearest CLSC.

How do I take a pregnancy test?

The best time to take a pregnancy test is after you expected your period. Some tests can start working 10 days after having sex, but they’re more accurate after a late period. If you take the pregnancy test earlier, any hormones won’t be as concentrated in your pee, and you may get a false result. So the test could say someone’s not pregnant when they are. After a period is late, at-home tests are right about 97% of the time.

The pregnancy test will give you the most accurate results if you take it with your first pee of the day. Most pregnancy tests tell you to pee on the stick and then lay it down on a flat surface, but it’s important to read the instructions that come with your kit, because some tests do it differently.

After you pee on the stick, it usually takes about 3-5 minutes for your result to show. Most pregnancy tests use a + sign to show a positive pregnancy and a – to show negative pregnancy. Some use other symbols. If you get a negative result, you may want to wait a week and then take another test if your period still hasn’t started, just to be sure.

Before taking a test, it can be a good idea to have a plan in case you need support or someone to talk to afterwards. You can text a friend to make sure they can talk if you want to, or have the number for a youth helpline like Tel-Jeunes ready. You don’t have to tell your friend right away what you might need to talk to them about if you don’t want to. They can talk to you about what the test results mean and what your options are.

I got a positive pregnancy test, what should I do now?

If you get a positive result, a good next step is to make an appointment with a doctor or head into a clinic. A healthcare provider will be able to confirm a pregnancy with more tests.

If their test is positive, you have options: you can stay pregnant and either plan to parent or arrange an adoption, or you can end the pregnancy with an abortion. Your healthcare provider can help you with the next steps for any option you choose. This kind of decision can be very hard to make, and it can help to talk about it with people you trust.

More info:

  • Head & Hands Health Services

    Head and Hands is a health clinic for youth ages 12-26 near the Vendome Metro station. They offer free, anonymous STD testing, even if you’re not covered by RAMQ. Head and Hands also has a lot of other services, including medical checkups, getting contraception, transitioning, and more.

    They offer a walk-in clinic on most Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 4:45pm. It’s first come first serve, so it helps to arrive early.

    They recommend bringing your RAMQ card if you have it, but you can still see someone if you don’t have it.

  • Access Line – Pregnancy Options – Action Canada

    This help line and email can help you navigate your options with an unexpected pregnancy, explaining each possibility and the risks of each, including raising the fetus, adoption, abortion, and more. They are available 24/7 to help you through the process.

  • Can I get Pregnant IF…? – Scarleteen

    Scarleteen article with a set of Q&As about pregnancy risk in different scenarios.

  • Menstruate and be pregnant, too? – Ask Alice

    This article explains how it isn’t possible to have your period when you’re pregnant. It also talks about the difference between spotting and pregnancy and next steps if you’re at risk for being pregnant.

  • Tel-Jeunes

    Tel-jeunes is a free, confidential resource for young people throughout Quebec, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can talk through texting, phone, or online chat and get a quick response.

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