Learning about our Menstrual ~ Fertility Cycles
Living with our Fertility
A Young Woman's Guide
Teen Section

When young women begin to explore sexuality, too many of them know very little about sex, how their bodies work, how to tell when they are fertile, when they can get pregnant, how pregnancy occurs. In school they might learn about birth control. This is good. Modern birth control is what will protect you from pregnancy, and some forms will protect you from diseases. Modern birth control coupled with the knowledge and understanding of how your body works, and how to read the signs of fertility can have a huge positive impact on your life.

Welcome. Over the past few years I have taken upon myself to educate women about their fertility cycles. Why? Because I believe every woman should be able to choose when she will get pregnant and with whom. Because I believe that children should be wanted and planned for, that the parents should be ready to be a parent; ready to devote their lives to raising that child. I also believe that just because a woman gets pregnant that it is not her obligation to give birth. I believe that women should be able to have control over their bodies and not be baby machines; as the old saying goes.... barefoot and pregnant.

I see a real need for this information all around the globe, I feel really blessed to have this medium to make it possible to reach thousands of women around the world. It is my desire to help women to understand how their bodies work, and to be able to use that knowledge to avoid pregnancy. In many parts of the world it's very difficult for women to get contraceptives, especially if she is not married. There is no substitute for a condom and the protection it offers from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and viruses.

While I have your attention, I hope to teach you something new, impart a renewed sense of sexual responsibility and inspire a strong desire to learn more about yourself and your cycle. Helping to dispell the fear that many women experience when they just had unprotected sex, not knowing when they are fertile, and the anxiety and helplessness that they experience waiting for menstruation to arrive.

My focus has been avoiding pregnancy, much of the information here on this website deals with that, but I've tried to be diverse and include information about other things as well, trying to anticipate questions you may have. What I am about to share with you is information I wish my mother had known about and understood so that she could have taught me. Instead I had to learn the hard way, teaching myself, reading everything I could get my hands on, and learning through experience. Surprisingly, this information is not very easy to find. Books are available but not often found in the average bookstore. It took me many years to accumulate this information, fortunately as time passes more information becomes available, better books are written, and we learn a little more each day.

Inspite of all the information that is available, the people who need it most, our young women have the hardest time getting access to it. Its pretty safe to say, that the vast majority of young girls are not taught how to tell when they are fertile. This is unfortunate because a little education could make such an improvement in individual lives, we still have a million teens getting pregnant every year. I really beleive that the right type of education could prevent many of those pregnancies, but it takes our educational system so long to change, and there are organizations that fight against educating our young people about sexuality and the natural functions of our bodies. Once we have that knowledge no one can take it away, and we can share with our friends, sisters and daughters (whenever that times comes).

When you begin exploring sexuality, it is important to go at your own pace, it's important for you not to do anything you are not ready to do. It is ok to be a virgin, no matter how old you are. When you decide that you are ready it is important to take responsibility for your fertility, male and female both. Men/teenage boys are always fertile, and they need to take responsibly for this, condoms are a responsible choice, protecting both partners from disease and pregnancy. Women/girls who are menstruating are fertile at certain times during the cycle. We are the ones who get pregnant, and must make the choices that may forever alter the course of our lives. So look out for yourself, use those condoms, and be firm with your guys, use plenty of contraception, and use it every time.

I really beleive that every woman should be able to choose when and with whom she will have a child, learning your fertility cycle is the key. Don't be victimized by your fertility. When exploring sexuality, always assume that you are fertile, don't take any chances, always use contraception. Motherhood changes your life forever, life is never the same. I don't think it is fair to yourself or the child if you are not prepared mentally, physically and financially to devote your life for the next 18 years plus to raising that child, because that's what it takes to do a good job. And guys, are you ready for 18 years of financial responsibility and obligation at the very least? Are you ready to be a dad? Best to avoid pregnancy all together, to never be placed in the position where you have to make that difficult choice of whether or not to continue a pregnancy.

So I've put this page together especially for teens, but I think you will find, much of the information is valuable for women of all ages. I started this page on Feb 9, 1999, and has grown to the point where I need to break it into smaller pages. The first section as a question and answer section. If there are any questions you would like to see here please email them to me, and I will answer them as best I can and put them up here. Below the Q & A section you will find books and links to pages I think you will find educational and helpful.

Believe me, preventing pregnancy especially when you are a teenager, is well worth any time and money you invest in birth control, and the time you invest in learning your cycle - its something that you will benefit from for years to come. Its really not hard to do. Here you will find the resources to help you learn what you need to know.

Question & Answer Section

What is menstruation?
Menstruation is the name given to the blood which flows from the vagina. It occurs when the uterus has prepared itself to receive a fertilized egg and it did not. In certain cultures in the world the first blood flow is a rite of passage, where the young girl leaves childhood behind and enters into womanhood, she now has the ability to create life with the help of a male partner. Often this is the most important occasion in the girl's life. The first menstrual bleeding is sometimes called Menarche. And is a time of celebration in just about any part of the world except the United States where, we don't like to talk about such things. Which is unfortunate. It is too bad that we are not taught to recognize the power and mystery of menstruation. Imagine if you will, thousands of years ago. In a world where men and women knew very little about their bodies. Imagine how it must of been for ancient man to see a woman bleed so much and not die, and do it every turning of the moon. Oh the power and the mystery. Something to be respected. Times have changed, and now we are conditioned to feel shame and embarrassment to be a woman. Not to talk to others of our menstrual bleeding. Even our mothers sometimes dread having this conversation with us. I hope over time this will change, but it will only happen if we "reclaim" our menstruation. To enjoy the power and mystery of the blood; what it is to be Woman. To stop viewing menstruation as dirty and messy. To stop being embarrassed about bleeding. To stop viewing menstruation in a negative light, to feel that it is "The Curse" or "on the rag". How can we feel good about it when we think of it like that.

What is a menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle is a delicate dance of hormones interacting and exerting their influence on the female body. Menstruation is only the most obvious part of the menstrual cycle. A more accurate way of describing the menstrual cycle might be to call it a fertility cycle. Here in the website, you will find I often use these two words interchangeably (menstrual cycle/fertility cycle). The hormonal dance is quite complex. Books like Taking Charge of your Fertility have a really good explanation of what goes on.

Why do I bleed every month?
The reason you have a menstrual period each month is because your body has prepared itself to receive a fertilized egg. If the egg is not fertilized by sperm then the uterus sheds its lining to get ready for the next cycle. Like cleaning house, incase company shows up. When the uterine lining is shed, we see it as blood flowing from our vagina. It will happen this way every month unless we conceive (get pregnant).

"All my friends are have their periods, but I don't. Is there something wrong with me?"
No. All girls begin menstruating at different ages. Every one of you is an individual and your bodies will do their thing, just let nature take its course.

Can I get pregnant if I've never had a period?
Yes!! You can. Pregnancy occurs when sperm (from a man's penis) is present during ovulation. Ovulation happens about two weeks before menstruation happens. This means if a girl has sex around the time of ovulation she can get pregnant even if she has never had a menstrual period. Ovulation happens before menstruation. A girl can become fertile at any age. A sad story I read in the newspaper gives an example of this. A 10 year girl was being raped on a regular basis by older neighborhood boys, she became pregnant, without ever menstruating (since ovulation comes before menstruation) She was 7 months pregnant before anyone figured out she was pregnant. Who would have guessed that a 10 year old could get pregnant. It just goes to show it can happen to anyone at any age.

We've been fooling around and I wanted to know if I can get pregnant if my hymen is still intact
Again, the answer is yes, IF the penis comes into contact with the labia/vaginal area, which can include the pubic hairs and upper thighs AND a drop or more of semen is deposited in that area.

How does pregnancy occur?
Penis/Vagina contact. Skin on skin. Simple as that. This includes any contact with the penis in the area between your legs. Women have gotten pregnant from the penis rubbing against the outer lips of the vagina without the penis entering into the vagina. Women get pregnant when the "withdrawal method" is used. Understand that it only takes one drop of semen to release thousands of sperm inside you. The guy may not even feel that drop escape, but if you use the withdrawal method (when the guy pulls his penis out of the vagina before ejaculating), if you use this method, don't be surprised if you find yourself pregnant, because the withdrawal method has a very high failure rate and is not a reliable or responsible method of birth control. So if a guy tells you he'll pull out, tell him to go to the store and buy some condoms or go take a cold shower! And of course women get pregnant from having sex, where the penis actually enters the vagina.

During your fertile part of the cycle, the body produces a special kind of mucus, called fertile mucus, which once the sperm gets into it they can live for a long time. The fertile mucus helps them to stay alive and swim up inside you, into the uterus, to find the egg, they will wait there for the egg and fertilize it. Fertile mucus is only present when you are fertile. Any intimate contact with the penis and vaginal area at this time could result in pregnancy. It only takes one drop of semen to impregnate a woman. One drop can hold thousands of sperm.

You can not get pregnant by french kissing, giving or receiving oral sex (but you could get diseases - like herpes, you don't want to have oral or vaginal contact with a penis that is having a herpes break out, or receive oral sex if he has cold sores on his mouth, as the virus can be exchanged this way, and once you have it, you get to keep it for the rest of your life. Viruses are very hard to kill, and in most cases, there are no cures for diseases caused by viruses). You won't get pregnant from touching each others private parts with your hands (unless they have semen on them), you can't get pregnant swimming in a pool, sperm can't survive in these conditions. But if you have vagina/penis contact while in a pool it is possible for pregnancy to occur, if both of you have your swim suits on, then you can't get pregnant from rubbing together. Pregnancy only occurs when the penis or semen touches the vaginal area and the woman is fertile.

This is a diagram of the female reproductive system.
diagram of the female reproductive system

During intercourse (sex), the penis enters the vagina, if ejaculation occurs and a condom is not used, sperm is deposited the vagina. If it is a non-fertile time in the menstrual/fertility cycle, the sperm cannot enter the cervix, and die in the natural acidity of the vagina. If fertile mucus is present the sperm then make their way to the cervix, fertile mucus helps sperm swim, protects and nourishes the sperm against the acidic environment of the vagina. Sperm need an alkaline environment to live in. Semen is alkaline in nature as is fertile mucus, both help the sperm to stay alive. Once the sperm enter the cervix they can hang out in the cervical canal for several days. Over the course of their lifespan which is 5 days to 7 days maximum, they infiltrate the uterine cavity and swim up the fallopian tubes in search of an egg. During this time an egg is released from one of the ovaries (there are two ovaries and they take turns each cycle releasing an egg). The egg is picked up by the fallopian tube which gently guides it toward the uterine cavity. The egg will be fertilized in the fallopian tube, once fertilized it begins to divide, it takes a couple days for the egg to get to the uterus, once there it floats around the uterus for up to a week before finally implanting on the uterine wall. When the connection between the fertilized egg and the uterine wall is made, pregnancy begins, and the body receives the signal to continue producing progesterone.

When the egg is released from the ovary the hole it leaves behind becomes what is called the corpus lutuem. The corpus lutuem's job is to produce progesterone and get the uterus ready incase the egg is fertilized this cycle. If an egg is fertilized the corpus lutuem gets the signal to keep producing progesterone, and will do so until the placenta takes over hormone production. Progesterone is the hormone that makes pregnancy possible, without it the pregnancy will not survive.

If the egg is not fertilized in 12-36 hours it begins to deteriorate, by the time it reaches the uterus it is no longer viable. The corpus luteum located on one of the ovaries does not receive the signal to continue producing progesterone and begins to fade away. The progesterone levels decrease accordingly, until the uterus can no longer maintain the uterine lining, menstruation begins about 14 days after ovulation.

Can you get pregnant if you have sex during menstruation? It is possible and occasionally does happen. But for the most part the answer is NO. During menstruation the hormones needed to cause ovulation to happen are not present. In the rare cases where pregnancy does result from unprotected sex during menstruation, we have a couple theories on how this happens. My theory is that particular cycle was very short for some reason, with ovulation happening earlier than normal, resulting in pregnancy. While a friend of mine has a theory of spontaneous ovulation, she works with many women faced with unwanted pregnancy and has the opportunity to talk in depth with most of them. Either way, one thing to be aware of, menstrual blood will mask any fertility signals that may forewarn of early ovulation.

Wanna see something really cool? Have you ever seen your cervix? If you look at the diagram above, you can see the cervix is located inside your body. It can be seen by using a speculum, a flashlight and a mirror. Why would you want to do this? Well, your cervix can tell you a lot about where you are in your cycle. When you look at your cervix on a daily basis, you can observe changes and use this information to tell when you are fertile. The first time I saw my cervix in the comfort and privacy of my own home, was an exciting experience. Meeting a part of me I had never seen before. It turned out to be one of the most educational things I have done for myself and to learn about myself. You can purchase a speculum online very cheaply, I think it is a worth-while investment.

The Monthly Flow - Friend or Foe?
It is how you view the experience. Attitude & Perception. Is menstruation really a monthly curse? Depends on how you look at it, and how you are currently experiencing menstration. For some girls/women, it is. Ever since I've been paying attention to my cycles, observing and noting the daily changes, menstruation became a familiar friend, letting me know I had safely navigated my way through another cycle, successfully avoiding pregnancy.
When my partner complains - "bleeding again? Already?" I just remind him of the alternative - pregnancy. Then he decides maybe a few days of bleeding is not the end of the world.
For me the first day of bleeding is always the worst - bloating, cramping, all my energy disappears, it seems to sit in a lump in my abdomen, all the blood in my body seems to go to my feet. If I was more ambitious I could use herbs to make the first day of my period more comfortable, but I'm not one to take things, even herbs, and it's not usually that bad. Usually I can arrange my schedule to take it easy that first day.

Catching the Blood ~ Cloth Pads vs Paper pads & Tampons vs Menstrual Cups

What is the best kind of birth control?
A better question is what kind of birth control will work best for you....
You need to think about how much responsibility you want to take on. Do you want to put the energy into learning about your body, are you willing to do what it takes to know your body well enough to use natural forms of birth control such as fertility awareness methods coupled with barrier methods? Will you be responsible enough to remember to use your chosen form of birth control EVERY time? Take your pill every day, etc? Disciplined enough to turn your boyfriend down if you don't have your birth control with you? {Even if it is in the heat of the moment?} You need to consider these things and more when choosing your method of birth control.

Birth control methods NOT RECOMMENDED FOR TEENS include withdrawal, fertility awareness methods (discussed in detail on this website) and IUDs. I would like to say this about fertility awareness and teens, I think being aware of your cycle and learning to recognize the signs of fertility is a MUST for every woman in the fertile portion of her life (about 30 to 40 years). The earlier she learns these things the better. But I also think that it is not a good idea for teens to use fertility awareness methods as a method of contraception. Why? Because it takes many years to really get it right, and any mistake could very well mean pregnancy. And it offers no protection from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). When I first started learning fertility awareness methods I was in my early 20's, while using/learning these methods as a method of contraception, I became pregnant for the first time. Fertility awareness methods take a lot of practice, dedication and experience to get it right. It took me 4 years and a more sensitive partner to finally get it down, now I have not had any unplanned pregnancies for more than 5 years and counting. I think fertility awareness is an excellent thing to learn during your teen years but don't rely on it as a method of contraception, unplanned pregnancy is something you want to avoid at all costs, especially during your teen years.

Choosing a method of contraception Use something reliable, don't take risks. Condoms, as I'm sure you've heard over and over, are a must, they do two things, they protect you from pregnancy and protect you from diseases. Condoms are easy use and to get, you can buy them at the grocery or drug store, order them online or often get them for free at local clinics like planned parenthood.

From there if you want added protection, the web links below discuss other modern forms of birth control in greater detail, I would suggest visiting them to learn more about what is available, and make an informed choice.
Planned Parenthood - Birth Control Options for Teens
Ann Rose's Ultimate Birth Control Links
Feminist Women's Health Center - Birth Control Options

What if my boyfriend/girlfriend refuses to use a condom?
No lover is worth jepordizing your future sexual health, or physical health for. Always use condoms, and if your lover refuses, then really think about the implications. Any lover who refuses to use a condom with you, has also refused to use one with other lovers, and may have a virus and not know it. Viruses are EXTREMELY hard to detect. Any lover who refuses not to use a condom is obviously OK with getting an sexually transmitted disease, is OK with getting someone pregnant, and DOESN'T respect themselves enough to protect themselves from these things. And you have to consider if you really want to have sex with this kind of person.

"My girlfriend says she's on the pill, and that we don't need to use a condom, how effective is the pill, and should we use a condom anyway?"
With this type of question, several things come to mind. First men need to take reponsibility for their fertility. Men and boys are fertile every single day of their lives once their testies mature. If more men would take responsibility for their fertility and use condoms every time they have sex, we wouldn't have stories like Ray Caruth or Robert Blake in the news.... stories where women claiming to be on birth control, when they are not to try and trap these guys by getting pregnant. This sort of thing happens all too ofen. So guys -- cover your own butts!! Always use a condom!!
Other things that come to mind are sexually transmitted disease and virus concerns, the pill offers ZERO protection against these. And using a condom along with the birth control pill will make a foolproof contraceptive method. The pill is already one of the more effective birth control options available, coupled with a condom, the small chance of birth control failure will be negated with the additional protection from the condom. I even know of some who chose this method combination and the guy always withdrew before ejaculating, even though she was on the pill, and he had a condom on. Keeping the sperm out of the vagina completely by not ejaculating inside the vagina makes it even more foolproof, and for couples who absolutely do not want to deal with unplanned pregnancy this is a VERY safe and effective combination, with the only disadvantage being putting hormones into her body.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases
We live in an age where sexually transmitted diseases are a real threat to your health and well-being. Not only can you catch diseases that you can't get rid of like herpes or genital warts - that stay with you for the rest of your life, and you can infect others if you have unprotected sex. But you can catch diseases that can kill you like HIV/AIDS. This is why it is very important to use condoms. It is much easier for women to catch a disease from a man, in particular AIDS, more women get infected from having sex with a man who has HIV/AIDS than women infecting men. Because we receive the bodily fluids when a man ejaculates inside us without using a condom. It only takes one time to get infected with HIV or another disease. Do your research find out for yourself. Let me just say that messing up your health at such a young age is just not worth it. Respect yourself. Its easy to get condoms for free in most places, Planned Parenthood gives them away and so do many other organizations, sometimes you can get them out of machines for a quarter. Or just buy them at the store, or order them online. If you can't find them or afford them, ask your mother if she would buy you a box just incase. They are more available today than they ever have been, if you are persistent, you will find them.
Planned Parenthood - Sexually Transmitted Diseases
FWHC - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Another STD I'd like to mention is HPV - (human papilloma virus). A high percentage of the sexually active population carries this virus, and many people don't know it. Individuals can carry the virus for many years and it will lie dormant. It is VERY difficult to detect in men, as far as I know (I asked a RN) there are no tests for men to detect the virus. HPV can cause genital warts, there are about 70 different strains of this virus (some cause warts on other parts of the body like the feet). The human papilloma virus is usually detected when a woman goes for her annual pap smear, it is detected because the varieties that tend not to cause warts (visible warts anyway) affect the cells of the cervix, causing cervical changes -- cervical dysplasia, which if not treated can eventually lead to cervical cancer. Getting HPV can also put your future fertility at risk. Female condoms offer the best protection, but male condoms do offer some protection, and definitly more than no condoms at all.

If I don't get my period, does that mean I'm pregnant?
There are lots of reasons why menstruation can be late. With teens in particular, your bodies are just starting to produce several kinds of hormones, sometimes it can take a while for your body to get in the swing of things. Other reasons for a missed period can be stress, illness, diet and exercise factors, weight issues (too heavy or too thin) to name a few. There can be other causes as well. Chronic on-going problems may be linked to hormonal imbalances, or other more serious problems. If your menstrual cycle becomes erratic or irregular on an on-going basis this may signal a problem or imbalance. If you miss your period once and you know your not pregnant, then it is nothing really to worry about. If you wish you can use a mild herb to get the flow going, a parsley tea has worked for me quite well, another choice would be a ginger root tea, both of these herbs are found at your local grocery store in the produce section. In general, the better your diet is the better your menstrual experiences will be. Less acne, bloating, etc. If irregular cycles is a problem you may want to consider taking an herb like vitex to help balance your hormones and get you cycling regularly.

I had unprotected sex and am afraid I might be pregnant.
If the unprotected sex happened within the last 72 hours you can use what is called Emergency Contraception it can be obtained from local women's clinics, look for Planned Parenthood, or other Feminist women's health care centers. Be aware some women's clinics are not what they seem. They are started by those who are opposed to abortion and contraception. If you ask them about emergency contraception, they are likely to tell you that it is no longer legal, which is simply not true. For more information about fake clinics and how to identify them.

If you had unprotected sex more than 3 days ago, then that places you in a more difficult situation. If you chart your cycle on a calender, then you have something to work with. If you know the date when you started bleeding last time; the first day of bleeding and if you know how long your cycle is usually then you (with help) can figure out what the chances are of you being fertile when you had unprotected sex, assuming that your cycles are fairly regular.

If it is too late for emergency contraception also know as the morning after pill, there is still options available for you. Vitamin C (pure ascorbic acid - check the ingredients). 5-6 grams over the next 7 days to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. If bleeding starts before the 7 days are up, stop taking the vitamin c. For more information on Vitamin C. And there is also a wildflower that can help, called Queen Anne's Lace or Wild Carrot, the seeds can work as emergency contraception. They may be more effective than the vitamin c, but they are harder to find. For more info on Queen Anne's Lace Seeds.

Help! I think I'm pregnant! What should I do?
If your period is late the first thing to do is have an early detection pregnancy test done. This way you know for sure what you are dealing with. Women can experience very convincing symptoms of pregnancy and not be pregnant. You can get a test done for free or cheap, just make sure it is an early detection test. If you go to a clinic for a test rather than using a home pregnancy test, watch out for fake women's health clinics. They are often listed as pregnancy crisis centers. I see them advertising on cable tv late at night, and they are also listed in the phone books. And will say anything to keep you from ending your pregnancy, there have been reports of them even giving women false information, leading them to believe that they are not pregnant when in fact they are. Clinics which are safe to go to are Planned Parenthood and Feminist women's health centers. For more information on what to look for visit: http://www.fwhc.org/fake.htm.
Yikes! I Think I Might be Pregnant by Planned Parenthood

It's been confirmed, I am pregnant. Now what?
If you find yourself pregnant you need to evaluate how you feel about the whole situation, there are many things to consider, and it will be different for every woman who finds herself in this situation. You will be making choices that will have an impact on the course of your life. You need to make what ever decision is right for you. Ask yourself questions like, Am I ready to devote my life to raising a child. Am I ready for my entire life to change, really soon? Am I ready to become a mother? Am I capable of raising a child at this point in my life and do a good job? How will this impact my hopes and dreams? In 5 years from now how will I feel? Don't allow yourself to be pressured by others to make a choice you are not comfortable with. This can lead to regrets and may seriously affect your life, health and emotional and mental wellbeing in a negative way.

Consider how you feel about abortion, and adoption whether or not these are acceptable choices for you. In my own experience dealing with unwanted/unplanned pregnancy was not difficult. Personally I do not feel the need or desire to have children. I have always been clear that child bearing is not for me. My choice was an easy one to make and it was the right one for me. I have no regrets, and do not feel remorse over the path I have chosen.

This decision is deeply personal, and every woman will have her own issues to deal with, she must make her decision and live with that choice for the rest of her life. This is why it is important to make the right decision for you.

You must decide if you are ready to bring another being into this world. If you are... then you need to do it consciously and responsibly. This means giving up any vices like smoking or drinking, etc. And get use to making sacrifices - it is part of motherhood. Get your prenatal care, take your vitamins. Creating a child takes a tremendous amount of resources from your body alone, a major drain if you are not caring for yourself properly. Do what's best for you. And if you decide to have the baby then do what is best for the baby. Raising the child properly becomes the top priority, we have enough dysfunctional people and families in our society.

And if you are not ready to have a child, then the sooner you resolve your situation, the better. The longer it go on the harder it becomes, and after 3 months of pregnancy, to end it you are looking at some very expensive and gruesome procedures. Abortion is best done as soon as possible. Don't make it any harder on yourself. The main thing is be true to yourself. If you have any doubt about having a child, wait. You have your whole life ahead of you, and there is lots of time to have children. You will better be able to provide and care for them when you are older, and can choose when and with whom you want to have a baby with. Planned pregnancy, one that is wanted and planned for can be a beautiful rewarding experience. Having children because you happen to get pregnant, in my opinion is not the way to do it. Not fair to yourself or the child. Unplanned pregnancy is a nightmare. There is nothing worse than finding yourself pregnant when you do not wish to be. And unfortunately It happens all the time. Don't let it happen to you.

Deal with your situation however you so choose, and do all you can to educate yourself on how to avoid getting pregnant in the future. Use it as a learning experience, and prevent future occurrences.

If you are under the age of 18, and find yourself pregnant, and are having a hard time telling your parents, It is hard I know, but the responsible thing to do is tell them. If you are pregnant, and don't deal with it, they will find out eventually, at 5 months pregnant you will begin to show. There is no way to deny the reality of pregnancy, the best thing to do is deal with it as soon as possible. Make your decision and devote yourself to what ever path you choose. If it is abortion, then call for the appointment right away, if it is giving birth then you will need the support of your family, as well as prenatal care, and the same goes for adoption. We need to take responsibility for our actions in all that we do, which includes having sex, and dealing with the consequences of having unprotected sex, or birth control failure. Its all part of growing up. If you are old enough to have sex then you are old enough to own up to your actions and choices even if your folks don't approve, most parents after the shock will come around. And if you are in an abusive situation where telling your folks will result in physical or psychological harm to you then it is time to seek outside assistance. There are options available, they vary from state to state, and are something you will have to investigate on your own. Planned parenthood is a good place to start if you do not wish to have the child, if you want to keep it, then planned parenthood or pro-life organizations might be a good place to start. There is help out there for what ever choice you make.

The main thing, is to avoid pregnancy in the first place, its not hard to do, and so worth any time, energy or money you spend. Take care, have fun, but above all be safe and true to yourself.

Books about Menstruation & Fertility Awareness

Links for Further Reading: (on site)
Menstrual Cycle
The basics
Fertility awareness
Learning to use a calender to chart your cycle
An example of a Calender Chart
Cervical changes
Fertile Mucus
The Pill
Message Board - to answer your questions and give moral support

Other links: (off site)
Gynecology 101
Menstruation - The Femine Principal - viewing menstruation in a new light.
Teen Wire - by Planned Parenthood Very good.
Planned Parenthood - Teen Issues
What happens in those 28 days
The Condom everything you want to know.
Ann Rose's Ultimate Birth Control Links Page
Red Spot Menstrual Culture
Info on Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Gynecological Examination and what it does for you.
Cool Nurse
Are You Ready for Sex?
Study on Teen Pregnancy
Red Spot: Menstrual FAQs
Yahoo - Teen Pregnancy Links & Info
Email List - Teen Pregnancy
Yahoo - Safe Sex
Yahoo - Abstinence links & info
The Third Wave A national organization devoted to young feminist activism for social change.
Abortion, Teens & Parental Notification Laws
Anti-Abortion Counseling Centers: A Consumer's Alert to Deception, Harassment, and Medical Malpractice



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