Did Your Birth Control Fail? Here’s What To Do Next

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Birth control can fail for several reasons. Perhaps you forgot to take your birth control pill at the right time, a condom broke, or your IUD dislodged without your knowledge. Try not to panic if any of these things happen. Here are some steps you can take if you think your contraception might’ve failed.

Find Emergency Contraception

If you know right away that your birth control method failed, you can take the morning after pill. This pill is a type of emergency contraception that can be taken up to three to five days after sex, depending on the brand you choose.

Emergency contraception will help prevent pregnancy by delivering a large dose of medication or hormones to prevent fertilization. It can be incredibly effective at preventing pregnancy if taken within the hours immediately following intercourse.

However, if you’ve passed the time frame for the morning-after pill, there are a few steps to take to confirm and plan for your pregnancy.

Check Your Symptoms

If you think you might be pregnant, take stock of your symptoms. A late or missed period is the most common indicator of pregnancy, especially if your cycle is fairly regular. Other common early pregnancy signs are mild cramping, spotting and nausea. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should take a pregnancy test.

Take A Test

If you’ve checked your symptoms or you know your birth control failed, it’s time to take a test. You can obtain a test from a drug or grocery store, or you can visit your local women’s clinic or obstetrician.

If you self-test, remember that not all tests are created equal. Certain tests, such as blue dye tests, have been reported to have a higher rate of false positives.

Contact Your Doctor

You should contact your obstetrician right away if you’ve received a positive test result. Your doctor will be able to confirm your results for you and can advise you on your next steps.

If you don’t already have an established obstetrician or are currently in search of one, you might have women’s health centers or clinics in your area. These clinics will be able to offer assistance and provide more information on how to prepare for pregnancy.

Consider Your Options

There are a a few options for women who experience unplanned pregnancies:

  • Keep the Baby – As you go through the steps to confirm that you’re pregnant, you might decide you want to keep your baby. If that’s the case, your obstetrician can help guide you along the way with proper prenatal care, along with educational and support resources.
  • Adoption – Adoption is another option if you’re not prepared for a child. Many agencies can help you find adoptive parents for your baby. You can choose between an open or closed adoption, depending on whether you’d like to remain in the child’s life.

An unplanned pregnancy can be a scary thing. Perhaps you weren’t ready for a baby or never wanted to have children. Feeling overwhelmed is perfectly normal, but it’s important to know you’ve got support and options. These things happen all the time. No matter what, you aren’t alone.



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