Pregnancy. Sex. Contraception. There, now all the potentially uncomfortable words are out there and we can get on with it.
It seems silly that these topics are often seen as taboo, or awkward to talk about, cause, well, they really shouldn’t be. In fact, new research shows that we don’t seem to talk about them enough. A recent survey of women aged 18-27, conducted by Galaxy research and commissioned by MSD Australia, showed that one in five have experienced an unintentional pregnancy. With 20% of women having experienced an unintended pregnancy, its safe to say that even more women have experienced pregnancy scares, and quite often these are just as stressful, if only for a shorter time.
While unintended pregnancies and pregnancy scares are not always something that can be completely avoided, there are definitely things that we can all be doing to change the stats here, or at very least make them a little easier to deal with. So, here are some tips when it comes to pregnancy scares and contraception.
Talk It Out
The thought of telling someone about a potential (unintentional) pregnancy is super daunting and if you aren’t in a committed relationship or are relatively young, it can be even more so. But, I can’t stress enough how important it is to talk to someone about it, rip that band-aid off – it’ll help big time. It may feel like you are going to be shunned or disowned, but, in fact, the majority of us are lucky to have at least one supportive and understanding person in our lives. If you have a partner, obviously have a chat to them first about any possible pregnancies (they did half the work, after all.) But this can be difficult, depending on your situation.
A parent, a sibling, a friend, find that person you trust the most, and let them know what’s going on, you’ll feel loads better. If you still don’t want to turn to someone you know, at the very least until you know for sure what the situation is, you always have your doctor. Chances are you’ll be needing to see him/her about this anyway, so why not make them your first port of call? It is, after all, their job not to judge. With the majority of women (62%) finding an unintended pregnancy more stressful than losing their job or whole life’s savings, pregnancy scares are obviously a big deal for most of us. It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again, talking helps. No one can support you, if no one knows.
One of the biggest issues surrounding unintended pregnancies/scares is contraception. It was found that 22-27 year olds are 20% more likely to use contraception than 18-21 year olds, suggesting there is a lack of knowledge and education here. Overall, 53% of women wished they knew more about different contraception options.
Do your research, know your options and make a game plan, whether this be for contraception or an actual pregnancy, there’s always a level of peace of mind that comes with being in the know. There are many contraceptive options out there and if one doesn’t work for you (aka many women often have health issues when on the pill), make sure you find one that does – no excuses. What works for one person’s lifestyle, may not work for others. So do your research; ask friends, teachers, doctors, parents, people on the internet, about what they would recommend. A good place to start is contraceptivematch.com.au, a website designed to help you find contraceptive methods that suit the lifestyle of you and/or your partner.
At the end of the day, it is really up to you to gather the information you need, so ask questions, do your research and get educated.
Don’t Be Embarrassed
This comes back to what we were talking about earlier. Somehow, certain topics around sex and woman’s health have been deemed ‘awkward’ to talk about. They shouldn’t be. It’s so easy to get caught up in what others might think or say, but avoiding these subjects isn’t always the better option. Whether you’re 16 and wanting to know about contraceptive methods, 20 and worried you may be pregnant, or 25 and actually are pregnant, being embarrassed to talk about it is probably not going to help. There are hundreds of thousands of woman out there who have been in a similar situation, at the very least your mother has (almost definitely) been pregnant (we think?) If you’re wanting to ask about contraception, it’s much better to be embarrassed than to go without, that way you won’t have to worry so much about the unintended pregnancy part.