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If Unprotected Sex Is Dangerous, How Do You Get Pregnant Safely?

Published: February 14, 2011
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I have thoroughly educated myself about safe sex (condoms, birth control, that kind of thing) but I am very confused. If condoms and birth control prevents pregnancy but unprotected sex is dangerous, how do you become pregnant safely? signed: confused about pregnancy and sexual safety
Signed: If Unprotected Sex Is Dangerous, How Do You Get Pregnant Safely?

Dear If Unprotected Sex Is Dangerous, How Do You Get Pregnant Safely?,

 

Unprotected sex is considered a high risk form of sexual activity because it can put a person at risk for an unwanted pregnancy and the transmission of STDs. Condoms and a back-up method of birth control (such as the pill) are generally recommended for teens and young adults who choose to be sexually active. When used consistently and correctly, condoms can be very effective in providing protection against the transmission of STDs and unwanted pregnancies, and birth control methods such as the pill can be very effective in protecting against unwanted pregnancies. (Keep in mind that abstinence is the only way to have 100% protection against these two things).

If a couple decides that they would like to have a baby, then in trying to conceive they would not use any form of birth control. When a couple is trying for a baby, obviously an unwanted pregnancy is no longer a risk since pregnancy now is the goal. The only possible risk would be if either partner has an STD or is at risk for transmitting an STD. If neither partner has an STD, and the couple is in a monogamous relationship, there should be no risk of an STD transmission between partners or from mother to baby. But if either partner has an STD, or thinks he or she may have an STD, it is definitely recommended that this be discussed with a medical care provider before trying to conceive to prevent transmission of any STDs between partners, as well as from mother to baby.

For more information on STDs and pregnancies, go to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) webpages on STDs & Pregnancy – CDC Fact Sheet and STDs and Pregnancy, The Facts. These webpages provide information on and answers to the following:

·         General facts about STDs and pregnancy

·         How pregnant women can lower their risk for STD transmission

·         Can women get STDs while pregnant? (The answer to which is, yes)

·         How STDs can affect a pregnant woman and her baby

·         When STD testing is needed

·         How to get tested

·         How STDs are treated

·         What happens when STDs remain untreated

 

When it comes to a healthy pregnancy, some other important considerations before getting pregnant can include:

·         How ready are you to have a baby? The questions presented in our answers to Trying To Have A Baby and The Cost Of Raising A Baby are a good place to start in terms of a couple determining how truly ready they are for such a big step.

·         Having a doctor in place who can provide prenatal care. If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

·         Not taking drugs, not consuming alcohol and not smoking cigarettes once you begin trying to get pregnant.

·         Eating a healthy diet and getting an adequate amount of exercise prior to conceiving and during pregnancy.

·         Many doctors will recommend taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you start trying for a baby.

·         Discuss any prescription medications you are taking with your healthcare provider to find out if they are safe to continue with during your pregnancy.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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