Condoms are incredibly effective as a method of birth control, and they aren’t the only option.
There are a lot of different ways to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancies.
This is where you will learn about other birth control methods as well what to do when you suspect you or your partner might be pregnant.
Birth Control Methods and Emergency Contraception
Condoms are the best way to protect against both pregnancy and STIs. For more information on condoms, check the Condoms page by clicking on the link above. However you may want to use condoms along with another form of birth control for extra protection from pregnancy in case the condom breaks or if you can’t count on your partner to always use condoms.
For more information about birth control, click on some of the most common options below. You will find basic information about each method, including the cost and if they’re covered under certain health plans. For more detailed information, please see your doctor, nurse practitioner, or nurse, or visit your nearest clinic.
Choices that need more frequent attention:
A choice that’s less effective, but still an option:
For information on the Contraceptive Sponge, Lea shield, Cervical Cap, Diaphragm, and Spermicide, check out Non-Hormonal Methods on the SexualityandU website.
If you’re not sure what the best birth control method is for you, check out this online app: Choosing Wisely, on the SexualityandU website. It asks questions and gives you personalized options that you can discuss with your health care provider.
Most people don’t know they’re pregnant until after they’ve missed their period – one of the first signs of pregnancy. But there may be other reasons you might miss your period, like stress, weight loss, or a missed birth control pill. If you’re sexually active and have missed a period, make sure to have a pregnancy test.
Here are some more signs of pregnancy to watch for:
- Nausea or vomiting;
- Spotting (light bleeding from the vagina);
- Swollen or sore breasts;
- Mood swings;
- Feeling tired a lot;
- A change in appetite;
- A metallic taste in your mouth;
- Darkening areolas (the circles around your nipples); or
- Sensitivity to smell.
You can pick up an at-home pregnancy test at any drug store. Basically, all you do is pee on a stick and wait a few minutes while the test checks for the pregnancy hormone. If it’s present, the test will show as positive for pregnancy. If it’s not present, the test will show as negative.
It’s important to know that sometimes, a pregnancy test can show as negative even though it should be positive. This is called a ‘false negative’ and happens because it can take a while for the pregnancy hormone to show up, so you might get a negative result and then re-test a few days later and get a positive. It’s almost impossible to have a ‘false positive’ result, though, so if a pregnancy test turns out positive, chances are very good that you’re pregnant.
A health care provider or clinic can confirm your results, either through a urine (pee) test or a blood test. A blood test can be useful because it is more accurate. The pregnancy hormone shows up earlier in blood tests than it does in urine tests, so ask your health care provider for a blood test if you’ve had a negative at-home test and your period is late.
I’m pregnant. Where do I go from here?
Finding out you’re pregnant can bring on a lot of different – and often mixed – feelings. You might feel:
- and/or a combination of all of these.
It can be helpful to talk to someone about the way you’re feeling and to sort through your different options. If you don’t have a supportive friend or family member who can lend an ear, you can speak in private to a counsellor at a clinic.
No matter what you choose to do, it’s important to seek out health care as soon as possible. Waiting too long to get care may limit your options. Try to seek out people and places that will help you make the decision that is best for you. Some places may only give you information on parenting or adoption, and not all the facts on abortion. If you feel pressured to make only one choice, you may want to get support somewhere else. Remember, only you get the final say on which option is right for you.
If you’re pregnant, your options include parenting, abortion, adoption, and guardianship. Get all the information you need to make your decision.
- Booklets and information packages on parenting;
- Courses on nutrition for you and your child, or on positive parenting; or
- Support groups made up of other young parents.
If you’re under 18, Child & Family Services (CFS) will open a file on you and your child so they can check on how you’re both doing. They understand you might face extra challenges when you are a young parent and want to support you through them.
Prenatal care is very important for both your health and the health of your fetus. If you show up to the hospital to give birth without having had any prenatal care, the hospital will be required to alert their social worker.
If you are pregnant or have a baby under the age of one, you can attend a Healthy Baby Community Support Program (click for locations). They offer parenting support, information about infant development and healthy nutrition, healthy lifestyle options and the opportunity to connect with other parents.
Should you choose to parent you may qualify for a monthly cheque to help you buy healthy foods that you need during pregnancy. This is called the Manitoba Prenatal Benefit, and is for families with a net family income of less than $32,000/year. Click here for more info.
Abortion is a way to end an unwanted pregnancy. It is safe and legal in Manitoba, when carried out by a qualified doctor.
Some doctors perform early abortions in their offices, while others are done in specialized clinics. They can be done up to 16 or 19 weeks of pregnancy in Winnipeg (depending on the doctor) or up to 10 weeks in Brandon. Winnipeg and Brandon are the only cities in Manitoba where you can get an abortion.
Abortions do not cost anything as long as you have a Manitoba Health card (they may cost up to $500 if you are from out of province), and you can get them done without parental consent. If you are planning on getting one done without parental consent, you may want to go to a teen clinic as they can get you into a doctor who will do it without parental consent sooner.
Adoption involves carrying a pregnancy to term (giving birth), and then allowing the baby to be adopted into a family that will raise and care for it as their own. Some people aren’t physically able to have their own children, so adoption gives them a way to become a parent without giving birth.
Adoption involves signing an agreement 48 hours after the birth, giving up parental rights. After this is signed, the birth parents are given 21 days to change their mind. If they do change their minds, CFS will continue to work with them as they begin to parent. If they do not change their minds, all parental rights are permanently terminated.
Birth parents can request an open adoption, which allows them to keep in contact with the adoptive parents.
Guardianship is when someone other than the parent takes legal responsibility for raising the child on a short-term or permanent basis. This can include an extended family member or a non-family member. This person must make a formal application through a lawyer to be the guardian. Unlike other adoption placement processes, parental rights are not automatically ended so that one day the biological parent may be able to re-apply for guardianship and parent the child.
Where to go for help
You may be pregnant, but you’re not alone. There are people who can support you, discuss your options, and help you make your decision. Try to find someone who won’t make you feel bad or pressure you.
You may choose to talk to:
- A family member;
- A counsellor;
- A doctor or nurse practitioner; or
- A public health nurse.
Places you can go for support and information include:
If your partner has an unplanned pregnancy, it can be a hard time for you too. Just like your partner, you might feel a lot of different emotions. You could also feel helpless, as your partner gets the final say on which option to choose.
You can talk to your partner, if you’re able to, but there are other people who can provide support to people in your situation:
- Counsellors can help you cope with the decision your partner makes.
- Post-abortion support, fathering support, and adoption support are also available.
Contact a clinic to get information on counselling and other supports that can help.