So, maybe you decided just once, you’d go without a condom … or the condom broke…or you missed your last birth control pill…or you did everything you were supposed to, but your period is late anyway. Whatever happened, you’re now worried you might be pregnant. It’s a scary time. Know what your first steps should be:


If unprotected sex happened within the last 5 days, you may want to get the Emergency Contraception Pill (ECP).  For more information about the ECP, here’s some quick information:

Emergency Contraception:

  • Must be taken within 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected sexual activity but the sooner you take it, the faster it works.
  • Works by stopping the release of an egg, stopping the fertilization of an egg and/or stopping the egg from implantation in the uterus.
  • Doesn’t cause abortion or miscarriage, so if you’re already pregnant, taking ECP won’t end the pregnancy.


If you’re waiting for your period and you’re worried, knowing some of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy can be helpful. But remember, these signs and symptoms can be from other things that are not pregnancy related, including effects from taking ECP. Signs and symptoms can include:

  • Lighter, shorter or irregular bleeding (due to implantation bleeding when the fertilized egg implants on the wall of the uterus);
  • A missed period;
  • Tiredness;
  • Nausea/Vomiting;
  • Tender or swollen breasts;
  • Frequent need to urinate (pee).

When it comes down to it, taking a pregnancy test is the only sure way to know that you’re pregnant.  A missed period is one of the most common signs of pregnancy. Some women choose to take a home pregnancy test and others go right to a healthcare provider or clinic to take the test.  If you take a home pregnancy test, make sure you read and follow the directions carefully.  If the test is positive, make an appointment to see a healthcare provider or go to a clinic as soon as possible. If you need help finding a place to go, visit the clinic finder on this site.

If your pregnancy test is positive, tell your partner or the person you became pregnant by as soon as you can. You’ll need to discuss your options and find out how your partner feels about the pregnancy and parenthood too.

If your test is negative and you are not pregnant, count your lucky stars!  Then, make a plan before the next time you have sex. Get on birth control or have condoms available. Talk with your partner about using protection and preventing pregnancy or STDs.