Causes of unintended pregnancy
Unintended pregnancy is an issue that no couple wants to encounter. There are many different reasons that lead to this situation. Women should be aware of them in order to avoid getting pregnant when they are not truly ready.
Issues with Contraceptive Methods
Some common and safe contraceptive methods nowadays include using condoms, inserting an intrauterine device (IUD), taking birth control pills, etc. However, no method is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.
This is due to the different biology of each person. For instance, you may be suitable for an IUD but not for taking pills. On the other hand, not following the instructions for use can also lead to unintended pregnancy.
Many couples mistakenly believe that the withdrawal method can prevent pregnancy. However, in reality, it only reduces the chances of pregnancy, and fertilization can still occur if the male partner has healthy sperm.
Irregular Menstrual Cycles
Women with irregular menstrual cycles are more likely to experience signs of unintended pregnancy. This is because ovulation can occur at any time during the month, making it difficult to predict and apply contraceptive methods.
Pregnancy While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding exclusively can be an effective and safe contraceptive method for the first 6 months after giving birth. However, its effectiveness decreases as the mother’s menstrual cycle returns or goes beyond the 6-month postpartum period.
This can lead many couples to be careless and not use contraception during sex, resulting in unintended pregnancy. Therefore, in order to ensure the best conditions for the child, couples need to adhere to safe contraceptive methods.
Signs of unwanted pregnancy easy to recognize
Here are some common signs of unintended pregnancy that women should be aware of in order to detect pregnancy early and take timely action:
Heightened sense of smell
One of the most noticeable signs is a very sensitive sense of smell in pregnant women. Some odors that often cause nausea and discomfort in pregnant women are fish sauce, boiling rice, perfume, toothpaste, laundry detergent, etc.
Here are some common signs of unplanned pregnancy that women should be aware of in order to detect pregnancy early and take timely measures.
Sensitive to smell
One of the most noticeable signs is that the pregnant woman’s nose is extremely sensitive to smell. Some smells that often make pregnant women feel nauseous and uncomfortable include fish sauce, boiled rice, perfume, toothpaste, laundry detergent, and more. Even scents that they previously liked may become difficult to tolerate. The main cause of this change is the increase in estrogen hormone, which makes the sense of smell more sensitive.
A common sign of unplanned pregnancy in pregnant women is frequent mood swings. The characteristic feature is that the pregnant woman can be very happy and excited, but can become sad and depressed immediately. This condition will occur throughout pregnancy, even lasting until breastfeeding.
In the case of prolonged depression, the pregnant woman should visit a doctor for advice as this may be a symptom of depression during pregnancy. If not detected and treated in time, this condition can cause a host of problems for both mother and child.
In the early weeks of pregnancy, the level of progesterone hormone will increase and disrupt the body’s internal hormone balance. Therefore, women may feel tired, unable to concentrate, and constantly sleepy.
A swollen belly is also one of the signs of unplanned pregnancy after intercourse for 1-3 weeks. At this stage, the fetus has implanted in the uterine wall and begins to develop. However, it is very difficult for women to recognize this if only observed with the naked eye.
A menstrual cycle usually lasts from 21-35 days, depending on each person’s physique. If a woman has not had her period for more than 7 days, it is highly likely that she is pregnant. However, this only applies in the following cases:
- Women have a regular monthly menstrual cycle.
- Women do not use safe contraceptive methods during intercourse.
Breast tightness and sensitivity
Normally, after one month of pregnancy, women may experience more breast tightness and sensitivity than usual. This makes pregnant women feel uncomfortable, as if they are being bitten by ants or needles, especially at the nipples.
The main reason for this discomfort is the increased levels of pregnancy hormones, which lead to an increased blood flow to the breast area. At this time, pregnant mothers should choose loose-fitting bras and avoid friction to feel more comfortable.
Changes in vaginal discharge
One of the other unintended signs of pregnancy is an increase in vaginal discharge, causing a feeling of dampness and discomfort. This type of discharge is completely harmless, so women should not try to clean it excessively as it may cause skin irritation and disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in the vaginal area.
However, women should also practice daily hygiene and regularly change their underwear to avoid creating opportunities for fungal growth. If vaginal discharge has a strange odor or color, then you should immediately seek medical attention as it may be a sign of a gynecological disease.
Pregnant women usually experience more frequent urination than normal, especially at night and in the early morning. The reason is that the increased blood volume in the body makes the kidneys work continuously to excrete waste products. At the same time, the enlarged uterus presses on the bladder and creates a feeling of needing to urinate.
The earliest time for morning sickness to occur is two weeks after successful fertilization of the egg and sperm. At this time, pregnant women may feel particularly uncomfortable and nauseous with the smell of coffee, fried foods, milk, or eggs. To make the body feel more comfortable, women should supplement with many vitamins from fresh fruits and use essential oil diffusers every day. Nausea is a sign of unplanned pregnancy.
Pregnant women will have a loose and heavy abdominal muscle and accompanied by pain in the hip and back. This phenomenon is similar to premenstrual syndrome, but it usually lasts longer. Therefore, pregnant women should spend more time resting and avoid carrying heavy objects to protect the health of both mother and baby.
The condition of muscle cramps during pregnancy usually stems from the stretching of the uterus and causing pressure on the blood vessels and muscles in the legs. This unplanned pregnancy sign is quite similar to muscle cramps at the beginning of the menstrual cycle, causing confusion for many people. Therefore, to have an accurate conclusion, women should base on other changes in the body.
After becoming pregnant, mothers-to-be often experience frequent fatigue, even exhaustion. The cause is due to an increase in the hormone progesterone, which makes it difficult for women to breathe and causes aches and pains. At the same time, the pregnant body must work at full capacity to supply the fetus in the early stages. This condition will gradually decrease and disappear when entering the second trimester.
What to do with an unintended pregnancy?
An unintended pregnancy can disrupt everything for women. Below is advice from experts for women who unfortunately find themselves in this situation.
How to handle an unintended pregnancy
After signs of unintended pregnancy appear, women need to carefully consider and make appropriate decisions.
Terminating a Pregnancy
“Unintended pregnancy, what should I do?” is surely a dilemma that every woman faces. The best solution is to discuss it with your partner to ensure that the decision will not affect your relationship.
If the final decision is to terminate the pregnancy, women need to prepare themselves mentally to face the risks of abortion, including:
- Uterine damage leading to rupture, perforation, or even loss of function, which can result in female infertility.
- Excessive vaginal bleeding.
- Pain during and after surgery.
- Uterine cramps leading to abdominal pain.
- Feelings of anxiety and guilt.
At this point, women should share their feelings with their partner and seek advice from their doctor to ensure a quick and healthy recovery.
In recent years, there are three commonly used safe methods of abortion. Depending on the mother’s health and the stage of pregnancy, the doctor will choose the appropriate method.
- Medication: This is a type of drug used to stimulate uterine contractions and expel the fetus, similar to the natural process of miscarriage. The advantage of this method is that it does not require surgery, so it is relatively safe. However, medication abortion is only suitable for women who discover signs of unintended pregnancy early and whose gestational age is less than 7 weeks.
- Vacuum aspiration: This method involves using a sterile tube to suction the fetus out through the cervix. It is widely used because of its low complication rate, fast procedure, and minimal bleeding. Vacuum aspiration is only applicable for women who are pregnant between 8-12 weeks.
- Dilation and curettage (D&C): This method is dangerous and not recommended because doctors will insert medical instruments into the uterus to scrape and remove the fetus. This process will cause a lot of damage and pain to the mother.
Continue to get pregnant
Continuing the pregnancy is an option that women should consider instead of terminating it. However, if they decide to do so, the expectant mother should weigh various factors such as finances, the relationship with the partner, health, and knowledge of pregnancy.
It’s essential to think positively and be prepared to face any situation to avoid affecting the baby’s development. If you feel overwhelmed, it’s best to share your concerns with loved ones or seek advice from a doctor.
In summary, women who experience unintended pregnancies should not terminate them as it can have serious consequences for reproductive health and ethical issues. Having a new member in the family will make life much more meaningful and happy.
Here are some things to do when experiencing an unintended pregnancy.
Below are some advice for women who unfortunately become pregnant unexpectedly to avoid feeling scared, ashamed, and out of control.
Stay calm: Unplanned pregnancy can make women feel anxious, but it does not mean that everything will fall apart and endanger their lives. Therefore, you need to stay calm, discuss with your partner, and make appropriate decisions.
Think positively: Unplanned pregnancy sometimes makes women feel guilty and ashamed, especially when the other person refuses to take responsibility. The way to overcome this is to think positively, let go of your feelings, and inform your family.
Learn from experience: When encountering such situations, women need to learn from their experience, understand pregnancy knowledge, and use contraceptive methods when having sex to prevent it from happening again.
Take responsibility: The fetus is a part of the mother’s body, the wonderful combination of two people, so the couple needs to be brave and take responsibility for their actions.
Here are some tips to prevent unintended pregnancy:
Use condoms: The simplest and most effective way to prevent pregnancy is to use condoms during sexual intercourse. This also helps to prevent sexually transmitted infections. Make sure to buy condoms from reputable sources like drug stores or supermarkets.
Take birth control pills: Taking birth control pills also has a high success rate in preventing pregnancy. However, frequent use can cause many side effects such as infertility, headaches, back pain, and hormonal imbalances.
Use an intrauterine device (IUD): This is a small device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent the sperm and egg from meeting. The lifespan of an IUD is around 3-5 years depending on the type of product you choose.
These are the easiest ways to prevent unintended pregnancy and some advice from experts for women. Hopefully, this information will help women know how to deal with the situation if they unfortunately encounter it.
Johnny Jacks was born in 1985 in Texas, USA. He is the founder of Good Health Plan and is passionate about helping people improve their health and physical well-being. With over a decade of experience working in the healthcare industry, he currently works at Goodheathplan.com – a blog that shares knowledge on beauty and health.