Pregnancy

Do you think you might be pregnant? Is your period late? Don’t panic yet - irregular periods are common. Stress, fatigue and other physical and psychological factors can all cause a delay in your period.

If you think you might be pregnant, the first thing to do is find out for sure. See our Am I pregnant? section for information about how to confirm a pregnancy.

If you know you’re pregnant, you probably have lots of questions. See our I’m pregnant, now what? section for information about your options.

Whether you know you’re pregnant or just think you might be, it’s important to talk with a trusted adult like your parent or doctor. You can also call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 and talk to one of our counsellors.

Am I pregnant?

Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Is your period usually very regular?
  • When was your last sexual contact?
  • Was there vaginal penetration?
  • Did your partner ejaculate (come) near or inside your vagina?
  • Did you use contraception?
  • No - you may want to consider taking emergency contraception. If taken within 72 hours (3 days) after sexual intercourse the emergency contraceptive pill can prevent conception from occurring. For more information visit your doctor, a health clinic or a pharmacy.
  • Yes - did you use the contraception according to instructions? Did anything unusual occur (e.g. the condom broke or you missed taking your birth control pills a day or two)? Did you recently experience a bout of vomiting? If you used contraception with no mishaps and you used it correctly, the chances of you being pregnant are very small. And remember, if you’re taking the birth control pill your period can be very light, late or not appear at all.

If you haven’t gotten your period five to seven days after you expected it, and you had sexual intercourse, you may want to visit a health practitioner and have a pregnancy test.

Pregnancy tests are relatively easy to get:


  • See your own family doctor or visit a medical walk-in clinic. Sometimes doctors will send you to a lab that conducts pregnancy tests. The tests may be free, but it depends on the province you live in and where you get the test done.
  • Buy a do-it-yourself pregnancy test kit at a pharmacy/drugstore, for between $15 and $25.

Wait at least five to seven days after your period is late before taking a pregnancy test, otherwise it may not be accurate.

The signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary from individual to individual, but some common early symptoms are:


  • Menstruation (periods) stop
  • For some individuals, bleeding continues between periods (spotting, brownish bleeding)
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Sensitive/painful/swollen breasts
  • Dizzy spells
  • Sensitivity to certain odours
  • Cravings for some foods and dislike of foods normally liked

As time goes on, most pregnant women experience:


  • Weight gain
  • Extended stomach
  • Lower stomach cramps
  • Movement
  • A frequent desire to urinate

If you think you might be pregnant, talk to a trusted adult like your parents, a close relative or your doctor. You can also call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868.

I’m pregnant, now what?

When you find out you’re pregnant, you may experience all sorts of emotions, like:


  • Joy
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Anxiety about the future

If you are pregnant you have three choices:


  • Carry the pregnancy to term and keep the baby
  • Carry the pregnancy to term and give the baby up for adoption
  • Abortion

All of these choices require mature reflection – take time to collect information, to think about and understand your options and to seek support from people you trust. No matter what you eventually decide, it’s important to know that most communities offer sources of emotional, practical and financial support.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s a very personal decision that will affect you physically, emotionally and psychologically. The decision will also impact other people in your life and will require you to consider your values, beliefs, culture, the short term and long term implications for yourself, your child, the child’s father, your parents, his parents and possibly even extended family on both sides.

You may want to consider the following questions:


  • What was my reaction when I found out that I was pregnant?
  • Do I feel like keeping the baby? Why?
  • Is it possible at this stage in my life to carry out this pregnancy?
  • Suppose I do want to keep this pregnancy, what resources are currently at my disposal?
  • Sometimes parents or other family members take a very active role and become primary or co-caregivers of the child. Would my parents help and support me?
  • Do I want the father involved in caring for and/or supporting the child?
  • Is abortion an option for me?
  • Is adoption an option for me?

Deciding what you want to do if you are pregnant can be tough. Try talking to a trusted adult about your options and remember you can always call Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 and talk to one of our counsellors.
 


 

Abortion

Abortion is legal in Canada.

Do I need my parent’s permission?

In most cases, you do not have to need permission from a parent to have an abortion because your health information is confidential. That means that whatever health services you seek are kept private between you and the health care provider.

How old do I have to be to get an abortion?

In Canada, age is not the determining factor to receiving medical treatment. That means that unless your province has a regulation that specifically addresses the issue of abortion, it is not your age that would stop you from getting an abortion. If you are able to understand the information about the medical treatment (in this case, abortion), including the possible risks and consequences, then you can consent to your own medical procedure.

In some provinces like Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island, you need to be a certain age (18) to get an abortion in a hospital. If you choose to, you may consider going to a clinic, rather than a hospital, where there is no age by law for having a procedure such as an abortion.

In Quebec, you have to be 14 years or older for medical treatment on your own; this includes an abortion.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Individual doctors, clinics and hospitals use their own best judgment and professional ethics about what age women have to be to consent to an abortion on their own behalf.
  • In most cases, the cost of an abortion is covered by the young woman’s provincial health care plan. However, there might be some restrictions depending on the type of abortion, the location, and how long the young woman has been living in the province. In particular, New Brunswick has restrictions on where and when young women can get an abortion. Young women in rural areas may also find it difficult to locate a hospital or clinic that performs abortions. Some health clinics may be able to help young women in rural areas get travel subsidies to fly to an urban hospital.

Weighing your options when you’re pregnant can be very stressful. To find out more about your options and any age-related restrictions that apply in your area, you can call Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) or visit a sexual health clinic (like those on campus at colleges and universities). To find a sexual health clinic in your own area, go to Resources Around Me.

Last Reviewed September 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team


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