Every week, we get a ton of questions asking everything from how to use a condom to how to talk to that cute guy in AP English. When we get a really good one, we want to share it with the world because—chances are—more than one person has the very same question. So, from time to time, we'll be sharing the best of the best (anonymously of course!)
Question: So about a week or two me and my boyfriend had sex, we used a condom and unfortunately it broke. As soon as we realized, we stopped having sex. I still haven't gotten my period so I started to freak out...am I pregnant?
Our Answer: First of all, it's great that you used a condom—making sure you're protected every single time you have sex is priority #1! But, as you mention, condoms aren't foolproof...in fact, they're actually only about 82% effective in preventing pregnancy and they do sometimes break. In your case, there is a chance that you could be pregnant depending on when you stopped having sex.
The first thing to do is to figure out if you're pregnant or not. Depending on how long ago you had sex, you may be able to do that using a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are sold at drug stores, pharmacies, online, and at some grocery stores; you don’t need a prescription, and there aren’t any age restrictions to buy them (and guys can buy them too!). They usually cost between $8-$15 and are pretty accurate if you follow the instructions—but you have to follow the instructions exactly. If the test is positive, you should make an appointment right away at a health center or doctor’s office to confirm the results; a doctor’s test will always be the most accurate.
Don’t assume that a negative home pregnancy test means you’re in the clear though—if you didn’t follow the instructions exactly or if the test is faulty, you might have gotten an incorrect result; a doctor’s office test will always be the most accurate so make sure you follow up on a negative test with a doctor’s visit. And while you're there, talk to the provider about birth control options; condoms are great but there are tons of other really effective methods out there that are much more reliable. A doc can help you figure out the best method for you!
You can also ask a doctor about emergency contraception (EC), which is a method of birth control that stops pregnancy from happening. It’s not meant to be used as your primary method of birth control—hence the name emergency contraception—but we all know that accidents happen, so it's best to know about this method before you need it. EC has some age restrictions and shouldn't be used in place of more effective method of birth control, but it's there if you need it in a..duh...emergency.
Need to find a clinic? Use our clinic locator; just type in your zip code for all the info you’ll need to find a health center nearby. Want to get more info on birth control? Visit our Birth Control Explorer.