There are a lot of myths about how to avoid pregnancy. These are the facts, a woman can still get pregnant:

  • If it is the first time she has sex,
  • If she does not have an orgasm,
  • If a man pulls out of her vagina before he ejaculates,
  • If she has sex while on her period,
  • No matter what position she has sex in,
  • If the man does not penetrate –- semen can still reach the vagina through/via hands and “toys” such as a vibrator.


Few heterosexually active women have never worried that they were pregnant. Breast tenderness and nausea may occur before you actually miss your period. Other signs are vomiting, often early in the morning, tiredness, and frequent urination. If you have missed a period and think there is a chance that you might be pregnant, get tested (pregnancy tests are free from both the Male and Female Welfare Officers and can be found in both their pigeon holes).

Emergency contraception

What is it? Despite being known as “the morning after pill”, current guidelines from the FPA (Family Planning Association) state that the “morning after” pill can be taken within 72 hours of intercourse. It is, however, significantly more effective if taken within the first 24 hours. It is therefore important that you act quickly.

Where can I get it? If you need post–coital contraception, seek help immediately by phoning your GP or the Family Planning Clinic, who will be able to prescribe you with the morning after pill for free. We recommend the Laurels. Alternatively, you can buy it over the counter from a licensed pharmacist (such as Boots or Superdrug) for around £25, or it is available out of hours from Addenbrooke’s A+E department.

Important notes: The morning after pill can be pretty hard on your system, and may induce nausea and your period may become irregular for a short time. However, as long as you do not use it regularly the threat to your health is very small. Remember that emergency contraception offers no protection from sexually transmitted infections, so if you have had unprotected sex you may wish to consider having a sexual health check–up at The Laurels.


Pregnancy can be confirmed from the day your period is due with a simple urine test. The Family Planning Clinic and some GPs offer on–the–spot testing, whilst some others will want to send a sample away. Alternatively, pick up a do–it–yourself test from the JCR Welfare Officers.

Tests should be taken in the morning when the hormones indicating pregnancy are most concentrated. Tests are around 99% reliable, so if you get a negative result and your period still does not arrive you might want to see a doctor to make sure.

If the result is positive

Learning you are pregnant can be a shock, even if it is planned. If it was unplanned, some difficult decisions will have to be made. In making a choice, you need to consider not only how you feel now, but how future plans may be affected by the choice. The final decision is yours to make. Don’t put up with any pressure from others.

If you do have an unplanned pregnancy, there are plenty of places to turn to for advice and support, including the JCR Welfare officers and the University Counselling service. Other useful places include websites such as the following www.bbc.co.uk/health.