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Pregnancy

A woman standing by a window with her hands on her pregnant belly.
Original photograph courtesy of Gosia Lachucik

The chances of getting pregnant if you have unprotected sexual intercourse are really high - in your mid menstrual cycle it is a one in three chance. Pregnancy occurs when an egg released from the ovary of a woman, meets up with a sperm from a man. This usually happens in the woman's 'fallopian tubes'. Once the man's sperm has got into the woman's egg, the 'chromosomes' from the woman's ova (egg) and the man's sperm get together. The new cell that is formed is then wafted down the fallopian tube into the woman's uterus and gets embedded in the uterine wall which has got all soft and spongy ready for it bed down there. If all goes well the cell continues to divide and divide and steadily grows so that the different parts of the baby develop. The whole process from when the sperm gets into the egg till the resulting baby is actually born takes, if everything goes well, about 9 months.

Chances of getting pregnant

If you are a teenager making love/having sexual intercourse with someone else and you are not using any contraception you could have a one in three chance of getting pregnant each time you make love. If you make love for a year without using contraception - then there is a 85% chance of the girl getting pregnant. If you are going to have sex and do NOT want to get pregnant then - please, please make sure that you use contraception. You wouldn't cross a road if you were told that you had a one in three chance of getting killed - so why take the risk of getting pregnant!

All about Sperm and Pregnancy

  • It only takes one sperm to get a woman pregnant!
  • Sperm has to get into the woman's vagina for there to be any possibility of her getting pregnant.
  • Sperm doesn't have to get into the vagina only via the penis. A woman can get pregnant if the sperm is on someone's fingers and they put their fingers into her vagina, or if the man ejaculates very near the entrance to her vagina.
  • Sperm have a long journey to make to get to the egg, and most of them never make it. They travel from the vagina, through the cervix, up the womb and into the fallopian tubes.
  • Studies show that some sperm reach the fallopian tubes in as little as 5 minutes after the man ejaculates. But most take 45 minutes or more.
  • Studies in rabbits show that even if you destroy all the sperm in the vagina five minutes after the male rabbit has ejaculated, the female rabbit still gets pregnant.
  • The chances of a woman getting pregnant as a result of having sex once, without contraception, is abound 30% at the woman's most fertile time. In rats it is 90% - just as well we are not rats!
  • It used to be thought the most likely days for a woman to get pregnant were two: the day on which the egg in a woman is released (known as the day of ovulation) and the day after ovulation. But it turns out that having sexual intercourse the day before ovulation as well as the day of ovulation actually carries the highest chances of getting pregnant.
  • Sperm can hang around for a long time in a woman - up to 85 hours or more after the man ejaculates into the woman's vagina, so a woman can get pregnant even if she has sex six days before she ovulates.
  • The woman's unfertilized egg usually survives for about 48 hours after being released from her ovaries

But I want babies!

Becoming a Daddy or Mummy is OK at the right time. So long as you want your baby more than you want to:

  • have any freedom.
  • go out with your friends when you feel like it.
  • have any spare cash.
  • easily get a job.
  • get some qualifications for a better job.
  • sleep.
  • have any time to yourself.

If you still want babies after that, then start knitting that babygro. But if you're thinking, 'errmm', then make sure you read up about contraception on this site!

For more information about pregnancy go to www.youthhealthtalk.org and check up under 'sex'.