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Sex Education: For teens who have questions, read this first!

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I see a lot of topics with subject titles such as "Can I get pregnant from oral?" and the likes. I have made this thread in an attempt to educate young girls and boys about sex, pregnancy, available birth control options (side effects of each option included) as well as options regarding an unplanned pregnancy. I will also touch very briefly on some STDs, their symptoms, and their treatments. I feel it is very important for each and every teenager to understand what sex is and the consequences of sex, good or bad. I will not be getting preachy in this post, I will only state fact. I understand (being a teen once myself, and being a teen parent as well) that no one can stop a teen from having sex if he/she wants to, but ANYONE (with solid, factual information) can inform a teen on how to properly protect themselves and how to respect their own bodies (again, without being preachy).

First, let's discuss what can and cannot cause a pregnancy:

*You cannot get pregnant by giving oral sex.

*You can get pregnant from precum (or pre-ejaculate), although it is not common.

*Because of the risk of pregnancy resulting from precum, the pull-out method (a method of "birth control", where the guy pulls out of you before he orgasms) is not an effective form of birth control.

*"Dry humping", fully clothed, cannot get you pregnant. If you and your partner are in thin, loose, damaged undergarments, there is a very slight chance pregnancy could occur, but only if the garments pull away on both persons, exposing each person to the other's genital reigon and only if semen/precum is present and very near the vaginal opening

*very rarely you can become pregnant from anal sex or penis to vagina foreplay (without actual penetration)

*you can get pregnant while on your period, although it is rare. You can get pregnant at any time of the month, but you are most likely to get pregnant between 10-14 days after your period ends. This phase of the female menstrual cycle is called ovulation. It is when the lining (endometrium) of your uterus is at its thickest and is also the time your body releases an egg. This lining is shed 10-14 days later, if you are not pregnant, resulting in menstruation (also known as a "period", "the rag", "Aunt Flow/Flo", and many other names)

*You can (rarely) get pregnant while taking birth control. This, as well as to protect yourself from STDs/STIs, is a very important reason to always use condoms.

*You cannot get pregnant from a toilet seat, unless it is coated in semen

*You cannot get pregnant from kissing

*You cannot get pregnant if you are already pregnant

*You can rarely get pregnant by fingering. Again, in order to become pregnant in this way, there would need to be "fresh" semen on the finger (meaning the semen has not had a chance to dry, was not wiped off or washed off), but it can happen.
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Now, let's talk Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs):

***Chlamydia- Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection, caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium.

Symptoms (Men)- As many as 1 in 4 men with chlamydia have no symptoms.
For men who do experience symptoms, they are:
*burning sensation during urination
*discharge from penis or rectum
*testicular tenderness or pain
*rectal pain

In order to diagnose a male who thinks he has chlamydia, a penile swab is taken. This involves inserting a large q-tip into the opening of the penis to take a sample of the discharge. If anal sex was also performed, a rectal swab must be taken as well. Once chlamydia is confirmed, the male will be prescribed antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection.

Symptoms (Women)-As many as 30% of women who have chlamydia have no symptoms.
For women who do experience symptoms, they are:
*burning sensation when urinating
*painful sexual intercourse
*rectal pain and/or discharge
*foul smelling, discolored vaginal discharge
*uterine pain and/or cramping

In order to diagnose a female who thinks she has chlamydia, a Pap smear must be performed. During a Pap smear, a doctor inserts a special device into the vagina, called a speculum. This opens up the vagina so that the doctor may get a good look at the cervix (the neck of the uterus). The doctor will then insert a q-tip into the vagina and swab the cervix. If anal sex was also performed, the doctor will need to take a rectal swab as well. Once the diagnosis of chlamydia is made, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

Chlamydia CAN be caught more than once!

***PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a general term for infection of the lining of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.

PID is a painful infection caused by bacteria moving from the vagina or cervix and into the uterus. The most common forms of bacteria that cause PID are Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Other ways that PID may develop are:
*theraputic or elective abortions
*insertion of an IUD (intrauterine device)
*endometrial biopsy

Around 1 in 8 sexually active girls will develop PID before age 20 in the USA.

Symptoms of PID are:
*fever (not always present, may come and go)
*pain or tenderness in the pelvis, lower abdomen, and sometimes, lower back
*green or yellow, sometimes also bloody, foul smelling, vaginal discharge
*bleeding after sex
*unusual lack of period (without pregnancy)
*unusually painful periods
*unusual vaginal bleeding
*unusual heavy periods

There may be no symptoms of PID, even if it is present

Diagnosis of PID is often made via cervical exam. The doctor may note that your cervix bleeds easily or has unusual discharge secreting from it. You may experience pain and tenderness while being examined, especially when your cervix is touched or moved. You may have a fever. You also may experience pain in your lower abdomen while being examined. These are all signs of PID. In order to confirm that PID is the cause of your pain, the doctor will perform a Pap smear, to check for bacteria in the cervical discharge. Your doctor may also order blood tests to check for abnormal results that may indicate an infection. Your doctor may also perform an ultrasound to rule out other issues, including pregnancy. Once a diagnosis of PID is confirmed, depending on the severity, you may be able to go home with a prescription of antibiotics. If the PID is severe, you will have to stay in the hospital to get IV antibiotics. Severe cases that do not improve with antibiotics may require surgery.

PID can be caught more than once!


Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium, Neisseria gonorrhea. Anyone who has sex is at risk of catching this infection. Gonorrhea is also known as "the clap" and "the drip".

Symptoms (Male): Symptoms of Gonorrhea are usually mild, but can sometimes include:
*Thick discharge from penis (green, yellow or white, sometimes blood-tinged)
*pain and/or burning upon urination
*increased frequency or urge to urinate
*redness or swelling of penile opening
*sore throat (gonococcal pharyngitis)
*swollen and/or tender testicles
**If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, fever, rash, and arthritis-like symptoms may occur. (called Disseminated gonococcemia)
As with chlamydia, gonorrhea in men is diagnosed by taking a swab from the inside of the penis. This is then stained with a special dye (called a gram stain) that will show the gonorrhea bacteria. This is not the most effective test. The most effective test is called a culture. A sample of a swab from the inside of the penis is smeared onto a petri dish. The petri dish is then sealed and put into an incubator. If the gonorrhea bacteria is present, it will grow on the petri dish. Other methods for obtaining a diagnosis of gonorrhea include a DNA test (done with a urine sample, which is much easier and less painful than obtaining a swab), rectal swabs, throat culture, and blood tests.

Symptoms (Female): Symptoms in women can be very mild or nonspecific, and may be mistaken for another type of infection. They include:
*vaginal discharge (green, yellow, white, and may be blood-tinged
*increased urination
*burning and pain upon urination
*painful sexual intercourse
*sore throat (gonorrheal pharyngitis)
*severe pain in lower abdomen (if infection spreads to uterus and/or fallopian tubes
*fever (if infection spreads to uterus and/or fallopian tubes)
**If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, fever, rash, and arthritis-like symptoms may occur. (called Disseminated gonococcemia)

Diagnosis (women) Diagnosis is the same as for men, however no culture of the penis is taken (because, obviously women don't have penises). Instead, Pap smear is performed and either a culture or stain is done. All other tests are the same for both men and women.

Never attempt to treat yourself for gonorrhea, as different strains of the bacteria resistant to some antibiotics. It goes without saying that if you have gonorrhea, it is required (in the US) that you notify all sexual partners, and the CDC must be notified (the doctor who diagnosed you must do that) and it is required that you abstain from sex with ANYONE until your treatment is finished.

Standard treatment for gonorrhea, as per CDC is as follows:
* A single shot of ceftriaxone (Rocephin) 125 mg or a single dose of cefixime 400 mg taken by mouth are currently the recommended antibiotic treatment
* Azithromycin (Zithromax) 2g in a single dose may be used for people who have severe allergic reactions to ceftriaxone, cefixime, or penicillin.

***HIV and or AIDS

To be blunt, I will not touch on this subject, as it is a long and complex subject. To read more about this, please look here:
(this is not a link to advertising, it is a link to information on HIV/AIDS that teens can easily understand)

***HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

There are several different types of HPV viruses. One strain of HPV can cause cervical cancer or abnormal cervical cells to develop. There usually aren't any symptoms, but sometimes painful intercourse is noted. Usually a diagnosis is made when a Pap smear comes back abnormal. With this type of HPV, a HPV DNA test is done to verify that HPV is, in fact, present. If it is, your doctor may recommend you have a colposcopy done. A colposcopy is an in-depth look at the cervix. It will be like a normal pap smear, only the speculum will be bigger, a special microscopic camera (worn by the doctor, not inserted in you) will magnify your cervix, the doctor will then "stain" your cervix with iodine and vinegar. This makes any abnormal cells show up white on the camera. Depending on the size of the affected areas, you may need a biopsy. First, you will be given a numbing medicine, injected into your cervix. This might pinch. Then, depending upon the size of the biopsy needed, your doctor will either pinch a small sample off of your cervix with a tool similar to tweezers, perform a LEEP procedure , which is using a special loop-like tool to take a larger sample, or perform a cone biopsy, when very large areas are affected. Depending upon the type of biopsy taken, you may be cauterized (bleeding is stopped by a special machine that "burns off" blood vessels), stitched, or a special salve that promotes healing and stops bleeding will be applied to your cervix. Once the biopsy is taken, it is put into a container and your doctor will note on the container where the biopsy was taken from (when referring to the cervix, doctors use "clock" positions to note where a sample was taken from, so if your sample was taken from the bottom middle of your cervix, your doctor would note "biopsy taken from six o'clock position"). The container is then sent to the lab to see how abnormal the cells are and how deep into the cervical tissue they go. In mild cases, only dysplasia is present. Dysplasia just means "abnormal growth". Sometimes dysplasia goes away on its own, but it needs to be watched carefully over the next months. In more severe cases, the abnormal cells invade deeper into the cervical tissue. This is called cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, or CIN for short. This is precancer. As with cancer, CIN is graded by severity. Mild cases of CIN are CIN I and CIN II. The most severe case of CIN is CIN III. Basically, CIN III is low-grade cervical cancer. For the most part, you cannot tell the difference between CIS I (carcinoma in situ, grade one, a low grade cancer of the cervix) and CIN III. CIN III is often just called CIS I.
Women with CIN grades II or III usually get the lesions removed. There are a few ways of totally removing the lesions. One, again, is the LEEP procedure. Another is cryotherapy, which is freezing of the affected areas. Also, electrocautery (burning off the lesions using electricity) and cervical coneization (also known as cone biopsy) are effective removal methods. Again, even after removal of high grade lesions, you will need to be closely monitored for the next year or two.

There may be an increased risk in men with HPV for penile cancers, although there is no real scientific proof.

A different strain of HPV causes genital warts. Symptoms are the same for both men and women and include:
*Soft, cauliflower-like growths on/in the genitals and/or anal region.
*abnormal vaginal bleeding after intercourse and/or abnormal vaginal discharge (this is the only exception, all other symptoms are the same for men and women)
*itching of the genital and/or anal area
*dampness on and/or around the area where growths are present

Diagnosis is made by visual inspection of the genitals by a medical professional. Genital warts can grow inside of the vagina so a vaginal exam will be necessary. Genital warts can cause cervical cancers.

Genital warts MUST be treated by a doctor. Do NOT use over-the counter remedies meant for other kinds of warts. Your doctor may treat genital warts by applying a skin treatment in the office. Or, the doctor may prescribe a medication that you apply at home several times per week.

Surgical treatments include cryosurgery, electrocauterization, laser therapy, or cutting them out.

If you develop genital warts, all of your sexual partners must be examined by a health care provider and treated if genital warts are found.

After your initial treatment, your doctor will schedule follow-up examinations to see if the warts have returned.

Women who have had genital warts, and women whose partners have ever had genital warts, should have Pap smears at least once a year. For warts on the cervix, women may be advised to have Pap smears every 3 to 6 months after initial treatment.

**With proper treatment, genital wart outbreaks usually can be controlled. However, the warts frequently reappear after treatment. Even after you have been treated for HPV, you may still infect others.

Certain types of genital warts increase a woman's risk for cancer of the cervix and vulva.

*** Genital Herpes (HSV 2)

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus 2. It is important to note that cold sores are NOT the same strain as genital herpes. Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus 1. However, cold sores CAN cause genital lesions if a person who has a cold sore gives oral sex to their partner. In that aspect, cold sores, or herpes simplex 1, can, indeed, be considered a sexually transmitted disease. It is also important to note that chicken pox IS a form of herpes, but is NOT considered a sexually transmitted disease. Chicken pox (varicella) is usually airborne but may occasionally be passed on via direct contact with an infected person.

Symptoms: Many people with HSV-2 infection never have sores, or they have very mild symptoms that they do not even notice or mistake for insect bites or another skin condition.

If signs and symptoms do occur during the first outbreak, they can be quite severe. This first outbreak usually happens within 2 weeks of being infected.

Generalized or whole-body (systemic) symptoms may include:

* Decreased appetite
* Fever
* General sick feeling (Malaise)
* Muscle aches in the lower back, buttocks, thighs, or knees

Genital symptoms include the appearance of small, painful blisters filled with clear or straw-colored fluid. They are usually found:

* In women: on the outer vaginal lips (labia), vagina, cervix, around the anus, and on the thighs or buttocks
* In men: on the penis, scrotum, around the anus, on the thighs or buttocks
* In both sexes: on the tongue, mouth, eyes, gums, lips, fingers, and other parts of the body
* Before the blisters appear, the person may feel the skin tingling, burning, itching, or have pain at the site where the blisters will appear
* When the blisters break, they leave shallow ulcers that are very painful. These ulcers eventually crust over and slowly heal over 7 - 14 days or more

Other symptoms that may occur include:

* Enlarged and tender lymph nodes in the groin during an outbreak
* Painful urination
* Women may have vaginal discharge or, occasionally, be unable to empty the bladder and require a urinary catheter

Diagnosis- Tests can be done on skin sores or blisters to diagnose herpes. These tests are most often done when someone has a first outbreak and when a pregnant women develops genital herpes symptoms.

* Culture of fluid from a blister or open sore may be positive for herpes simplex virus. The herpes simplex virus can in the culture in 2-3 days. It is most useful during the first outbreak.
* A test called PCR performed on fluid from a blister shows small amounts of DNA. It is the most accurate test to tell whether the herpes virus is present in the blister.
* Blood tests check for antibody levels to the herpes virus. These blood tests can identify whether someone has ever been infected with the herpes virus, even between outbreaks. It may be positive even if they've never had an outbreak.

Treatment- Genital herpes cannot be cured. However, antiviral medication can relieve pain and discomfort during an outbreak by healing the sores more quickly. These drugs appear to help during first attacks more than they do in later outbreaks. Medicines used to treat herpes include acyclovir, famciclovir, and valacyclovir.

For repeat outbreaks, start the medication as soon as the tingling, burning, or itching begins, or as soon as you notice blisters.

People who have many outbreaks may take these medications daily over a period of time. This can help prevent outbreaks or shorten their length. It can also reduce the chance of giving herpes to someone else.

Pregnant women may be treated for herpes during the last month of pregnancy to reduce the chance of having an outbreak at the time of delivery. If there is an outbreak around the time of delivery, a C-section will be recommended to reduce the chance of infecting the baby.

Possible side effects from herpes medications include:

* Fatigue
* Headache
* Nausea and vomiting
* Rash
* Seizures
* Tremor

Home care for herpes sores:

* Do NOT wear nylon or other synthetic pantyhose, underwear, or pants. Instead, wear loose-fitting cotton garments
* Gentle cleansing with soap and water is recommended.
* Taking warm baths may relieve the pain (afterward, keep the blisters dry)

If one of the sores develops an infection from bacteria, ask your doctor if you need an antibiotic.

I will be continuing this thread. In my next post, we will be covering birth control, signs and symptoms of pregnancy, and choices surrounding an unplanned pregnancy.
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replied January 30th, 2011
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As a side note, users, feel free to add to my information, as I may have left out some things. Just make sure your information is accurate and factual.
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replied January 30th, 2011
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Birth Control Options available and how to (correctly) use them
There are many forms of hormonal and non-hormonal birth control options available on the market today.

In my honest opinion, condoms are ALWAYS a must, as they not only protect you from pregnancy, should your primary form of birth control fail, but they also protect you from STIs/STDs. Respect your body, it will thank you.

There are two ways of putting on a condom properly. The more proper way is to leave the condom rolled up. When you remove a condom from its package, it will look a bit like a nipple. There will be a rolled edge around one side of the condom. If you don't understand what I mean by that, think about a balloon. The part you put your mouth around to blow a balloon up has a rolled edge just like a condom. One side of this rolled edge will be smooth (the underside), and the other side will clearly show a ridge, where the material of the balloon rolls up in on itself. Now, look at the condom. Place the condom with the SMOOTH edge DOWN onto the head of a FULLY erect penis. You then simply roll the condom down over the penis. After the condom is applied, make note of any tears or holes. If there are any tears or holes, use a different condom. Before having sex, pinch the tip of the condom (the little balloon part that is over the head of the penis) as you roll your hand over the condom toward the testicles. This removes any trapped air which could result in tearing of the condom.

Another way of putting on a condom is to completely unroll it and do a visual inspection for tears or holes. If none are found, you can gently re-roll it and apply it the same way you would for a condom that was not unrolled. Again, pinch the tip and roll your hand over the condom, down toward the testicles to remove any trapped air.


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Hormonal birth control:

There are a few different forms of hormonal birth control. Below, you will find direct links to different forms of hormonal birth control, how to correctly use each form, side effects of each form, and general information of each form. None of these sites are advertisements. Again, with hormonal birth control, there is still a slight risk of pregnancy, and hormonal birth control does not protect against STDs or STIs.

***Intrauterine Devices: Intrauterine devices are NOT usually prescribed for women who have never given birth, unless medical conditions warrant their use

***Birth control pills

***Note: There are many other hormonal birth control pills not listed above. You should discuss all forms of birth control and pros/cons of each with your doctor. Make an informed decision!

***Other forms of hormonal birth control
Nuvaring -a removable vaginal ring
Implanon - a form of long acting birth control implanted into the hip or arm...lasts for up to three years
Depo-Provera is a hormonal birth control injection. You receive the injection once every three months.

***Non-hormonal forms of birth control:
Barrier methods such as the sponge or diaphragm work by preventing sperm from entering the cervix. The effectiveness of both methods is less than hormonal birth control, but when used in combination with spermicides (a MUST for the sponge) and condoms, the effectiveness is just as good as hormonal birth control. The diaphragm is a great form of birth control for women who are allergic to spermicides and/or intolerant to hormonal birth control. Sponges are a great form of birth control for women who cannot, for medical reasons, take hormonal birth control. Since the sponge must be used with a spermicide, if you are allergic to spermicides, you should not use this method of birth control.

Another method of non-hormonal birth control is called Natural Family Planning. Natural Family Planning (NFP) will NOT work for women who have irregular cycles. NFP is not nearly as effective as hormonal birth control, as many women may ovulate more than once during their cycle and it is a time-consuming method. NFP is based upon cervical mucus changes, body temperature drops, and ovulation date, down to the exact day. It is very difficult to establish when you ovulate (short of buying six months worth of ovulation prediction kits, to establish a general average for the day you ovulate) and it is also very difficult for you to know if you are one of those women who ovulate more than once a month. With NFP, you avoid sex from three days prior to your ovulation to three days after your ovulation. I don't know much more about NFP than what I have already mentioned. I would not recommend this form of birth control to teens, as they are too busy with school and being a teen to take that much responsibility. I also would not recommend it due to the fact that most teens' bodies are still working out the kinks of puberty.

And, of course there is abstinence. Abstinence, or refraining from sex until marriage (or until you are a legal adult, depending on different definitions). Abstaining from sex takes a LOT of willpower, and is very hard to do, especially when everyone around you is pressuring or being pressured into having sex. But it CAN be done. Again, no one can stop you from having sex, BUT NO ONE, and I mean, NO ONE should force or pressure you to, either. If you feel you have been forced or pressured into having sex, even though you did not want to and even though you had tried to make it clear that you did not want to, please tell a trusted adult immediately.

My next (and last) post will be about pregnancy and options surrounding an unintended pregnancy.
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replied January 30th, 2011
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Think you are pregnant? Are you facing an unexpected pregnancy?
If you recently had unprotected sex or if you think your birth control may have failed:

*Wait at least two weeks after the date of unprotected/failed birth control sex before taking an Early Pregnancy Test, three weeks if taking a standard pregnancy test.

*For more accurate results, take the test first thing in the morning, when your urine will have higher concentrations of the hormone (HcG) secreted in pregnancy.

*If the first test is negative, but you still think you may be pregnant, wait a week and re-test.

*If the second test fails, you can either re-test again in another week OR you can visit a doctor and get a blood pregnancy test.

*If you got your period and it seemed normal, chances are you are not pregnant. Usually implantation bleeding is slight, and usually lasts a day or two, at the most. Sometimes you can bleed throughout your pregnancy, but this is NOT the same thing as a period. There is a condition called decidual bleeding, which is when a woman bleeds throughout her pregnancy, at the same time she would normally have her period, but this is rare.

Signs/symptoms of pregnancy don't occur until around the time you would be getting your period. Pregnancy symptoms are SHARED symptoms, meaning you could have some of the symptoms of pregnancy, but in reality, you are not pregnant. You could, instead, be having PMS, the flu, a stomach bug, a bladder infection, an STD/STI, etc.

Here are a list of symptoms that are most likely to appear around the time of your period due day(keep in mind these can also be symptoms of other things, not just pregnancy):
*nausea and/or vomiting
*missed period (that is usually the first indicator of pregnancy)
*heavy-feeling breasts
*sore breasts and/or nipples
*lower back ache (usually dull)
*purplish discoloration of the labia and/or genital area (due to increased blood flow to the uterus and reproductive organs)
*more frequent urination
*moodiness and/or mood swings
*nipples may or may not become darker, this varies with each female
*some women will have a line, called the linea nigra form from pubic bone to underneath the bellybutton. This discoloration CAN occasionally occur during the first trimester of a pregnancy, but usually shows up during the second trimester. Not all women will have linea nigra.
*bloating WITHOUT stomach hardness

Below are symptoms/signs that require further attention from a medical professional, as pregnancy is more likely (although some of these symptoms/signs could be due to other illnesses/conditions. Regardless, they warrant further investigation). These signs/symptoms don't show up in early pregnancy. They normally show up in the second trimester of pregnancy, and usually, by then, you KNOW you are pregnant:

*bloating and/or distention of the lower abdomen WITH hardness (this can be associated with a growing uterus or with intestinal/bladder issues)
*feeling "kicking" or movement internally(again, this could just be gas)
*more than one missed period when your periods are regular, more than two missed periods when your periods are irregular (again, if you even suspect you are pregnant, it is best to just test)

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Okay, so you know for sure you ARE pregnant! What do you do now?

First things first. You NEED to tell a trusted adult. If you are afraid to tell your parents, tell your school counselor or tell an adult family member that you trust. It is best that first you tell your parents. Them finding out from someone else may make matters worse. What to expect when you tell them? Expect anger, disappointment, loss of trust, sadness. It will not be easy to tell them, trust me, I know from experience, but it needs to be done. If they threaten your life in any way, get out and tell the police!
Secondly, hear your parents out! Let them tell you how disappointed and angry they are. Let them tell you how you lost their trust. Their feelings cannot be helped any more than yours can.
Lastly, have your parents hear YOU out. Tell them, honestly, that you are sorry that you acted irresponsibly (or if your birth control failed, let them know that...whatever your circumstance, be HONEST!) and that you know you have some tough choices ahead of you to make. Also, tell them how you feel! Be honest! If you feel humiliated, ashamed, angry, sad, confused, let them know!

Another thing you will need to talk to your parents about are your options and what YOU can/cannot do and what YOU are willing/not willing to do. If you are 16 or older (in most places here in the US, I don't know about any other countries) it is your decision alone to make. Listen to your parents when they tell you about your options and hear them out about what THEY think is best for you. This does not necessarily mean you have to go through with what THEY want, but at least by doing this, it shows you are taking their opinions seriously.

Regardless of whatever decision you make, it is imperative that you seek medical attention of an OBGYN as soon as possible, not only for the health of the unborn, but also for YOUR health. Many things can go wrong in a pregnancy, even if it is a seemingly healthy pregnancy.

Here in a bit, I will get into your actual options. I will not go into too much depth, as each option is controversial to some persons, including adoption and teenage parenting.

But first, I do want to touch on another important matter, the father of the unborn. If you know who he is, it is important that you inform him, especially if you plan to parent. He has rights regarding his child, as do you. He also has the right to walk away, as screwed up as it is. If you don't know who the father is but WANT to know, and have a good idea of who it may be, you can request a DNA test be done after the birth of the baby. You may or may not have to pay for this test out of pocket, depending on individual circumstances. If you were raped and got pregnant as a result, the "father" has NO rights and should be reported to authorities.
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Your Options: Simply Put

There are three options regarding an unintended pregnancy.

***The first option relates entirely to the pregnancy itself. This option is abortion. Abortion is not right for everyone, and not morally acceptable to everyone. If you feel that your morals do not support abortion, then it is not a good choice for you. As with any of the three options, you should make a list of pros and cons of abortion. You also should take into consideration your FEELINGS. If you feel that you would be consumed by guilt after an abortion, the choice to abort may not be right for you. Again, as with all choices surrounding an unintended pregnancy, you should never let someone else make the choice for you. If you feel threatened or coerced into having an abortion or NOT having an abortion, there are many places that can help you, emotionally. They also can provide you with information on YOUR rights regarding your choices.

As you probably know, abortion ends the life of your unborn embryo/fetus/baby. Again, some morally disagree with this, and if you are one of those who do, then abortion is not right for you.

The two methods of abortion are medical and surgical. Medical abortions are done between weeks 5 and 8 and utilize pills to end the pregnancy. Medical abortions can be done at home or in clinic. Surgical abortions are done between weeks 5 and 12 (in some areas, up to week 16) and are done in a hospital setting. During a surgical abortion, you are given a sedative and your cervix is dilated. The doctor inserts a curettage (or, in some cases, a suction) device into your uterus and removes the entire contents of the uterus, including the embryo/fetus. As with any medical procedure, medical and surgical abortions carry risks and complications. If you are considering abortion, talk to your doctor about the risks.

***The second option regarding an unintended pregnancy has little to do, if anything, with the pregnancy itself, since with this option, you are choosing to carry until delivery. This option is adoption. Adoption can be a very tough choice to make, and again it is not for everyone. Adoption is where you choose to give birth and then relinquish your rights to be a parent to the child you birthed, instead, giving those rights to an adoptive family.

When considering adoption, you need to take some safety measures. NEVER respond to someone soliciting information online about you or your baby...including this website. There are adoption agencies out there for a reason, and that reason is not only to protect prospective adoptive parents, but also to protect birth mothers. If you are considering adoption, contact a reputable adoption agency (many planned parenthood clinics and other clinics provide this information, if you ask for it) DIRECTLY by PHONE. You should also have a guardian or lawyer present with you for any meeting between you and the adoption agency and the prospective adoptive parents. The lawyer will make sure that your best interests are NOT ignored and that you are treated fairly and that the process is LEGAL. Once you find a reputable agency, you can further examine the different types of adoption available.
As with all choices regarding an unintended pregnancy, be sure to write a list of the pros/cons of adoption.

***The final option regarding an unintended pregnancy also has little to do with the pregnancy itself, as you are choosing to carry to term. This option is parenting. Parenting can be a joyful experience, but it is NOT A CAKE WALK. Again, make that list of pros/cons and include the costs that go into the raising of a child, not just including furniture and clothes and food, but also life insurance, health/dental insurance, transportation, college tuition, and housing. Also include emotional costs, such as the possibility of having a premature baby, a physically or mentally disabled child, the unexpected death of a child, and also the status of the father of the child (is he going to stick around? is he helping with child support? is he willing to actively parent the child?)...all of these costs are tough to think about, but should be thought about in depth.
If you choose to parent, be informed of programs that are designed to assist you and get you on your feet. These programs include, but are not limited to, financial aid, food aid, medical aid, clothing aid, and child care aid.

One last thing regarding parenting, and then I am off: UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you EXPECT your parents to pay for, take care of, or "parent" YOUR child. Sure, it is great if you have a supportive family that is willing to help on some level, but you should NOT expect it. Nor demand it. Your child is YOUR responsibility, not your parents'.

I hope I have helped one teen in some way or another. I apologize for the LONG thread/post, I just think some things NEED to be said.
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