Center for Young Women's Health

Pregnancy

 

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Did you know that over 700,000 teen girls become pregnant in the United States each year? Dealing with a pregnancy is one of the most important decisions a teen may need to make. Here are the facts about pregnancy along with answers to the most frequently asked questions.

 

Should I be worried about getting pregnant if I have sexual contact?

YES. You should be worried about getting pregnant if you are having sexual contact and not using condoms or birth control all the time.

 

Can I get pregnant while I'm having my period?

YES. You can get pregnant even when you are having vaginal bleeding. For example, a woman can have vaginal bleeding when she is ovulating. It's possible to get pregnant any time you have vaginal intercourse, so it's important to use contraception EVERY time you have sex.

 

Females have eggs, males have sperm: Females have two small, grape-shaped ovaries inside their belly on either side of the uterus. You are born with ovaries and they are filled with hundreds of thousands of eggs. When you reach puberty, your ovaries make estrogen. Once a month your ovaries will release one of the ripened eggs. This is called ovulation.

 

Guys have two testicles in their scrotum. Sperm is made inside of the testicles. Unlike females, who usually release only one egg per month, males can release thousands of sperm with each ejaculation.

 

What happens when an egg and sperm meet?

A male releases sperm with ejaculation and a female releases an egg each month. It only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg. So, if an egg and sperm meet (an egg is fertilized), it travels down the fallopian tube and implants in the lining of the uterus. If this happens, a female becomes pregnant.

 

During the early stages of pregnancy the fertilized egg is called an "embryo." As the embryo gets older it is called a "fetus." It takes about 9 months for a fertilized egg to develop into a full term baby.

 

How do people get pregnant?

    Next: Pregnancy Tests

 

Written and reviewed by the CYWH Staff at Boston Children's Hospital

 

Updated: 6/20/2013

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