If you’ve recently had unprotected sex, you’re likely wondering what you should do next. Thankfully, the next steps are fairly simple. Here’s a complete timeline of what to do after you’ve had unprotected sex.
The Next Day
Take a deep breath.
Don’t panic, and don’t worry. While it may be easier said than done, you won’t be able to tell whether you’re pregnant just yet. It can take up to 3 days for an egg to become fertilized, and you are not pregnant until that occurs.
Take note of your mentality.
Your emotional state is important. It isn’t uncommon for women to feel down following unplanned sex. If there’s something going on that you need to discuss, make sure you’re allowing that to happen with a friend or someone else you trust. Taking care of yourself is about checking in on all aspects – emotional, mental, and physical.
The First Three Days
Emergency contraception, often referred to as “the morning after pill,” is a form of over-the-counter oral birth control you can take within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. It should not be used as a regular form of birth control, as long-term use has been linked to an increase in certain kinds of cancer and has a relatively high failure rate of 11%.
2-3 Weeks Later
Get tested for STDs.
The earliest you can be tested for STDs is one week after unprotected sex, but depending on the STD, you’ll likely have to wait longer. Common STDs like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can be detected as early as 2 weeks following sex, while HIV, Hepatitis, and Syphilis can take up to 3 months to show symptoms. Many times, no symptoms are experienced, so you should not rely on them to tell you whether you’ve been infected.
Palm Beach Women’s Clinic offers free and low-cost STD testing women who’ve had unprotected sex. Schedule an appointment today to be tested.
Watch for pregnancy symptoms.
Some women report seeing early signs of pregnancy as soon as 2 weeks following conception. Below, we’ll list some of the common signs, but remember that no single symptom clearly indicates pregnancy, as it affects each woman differently. You’ll need lab-quality pregnancy testing and an ultrasound to medically confirm a pregnancy.
- Missed period. This can be misleading if your period is irregular or if you experience other health issues. However, if you’re usually very regular, this may be a sign.
- Exhaustion is a common symptom because of the hormonal changes your body experiences during pregnancy.
- Frequent urination. Your bladder can be affected by the presence of pregnancy.
- Tender or swollen breasts. Heavier or swollen breasts are another result of hormonal changes.
2 Weeks following Ovulation
Schedule an appointment for pregnancy testing.
Ovulation, the time during your cycle when an egg is released, occurs 12 to 16 days prior to your period. It is during this time that fertilization and pregnancy take place. A good rule of thumb is to come in for pregnancy testing when you expect your period to come.
At-home pregnancy tests, while they’ve advanced over time, still have room for error. An at-home test can show you’re pregnant when you really aren’t, or that you aren’t when you really are. Know for sure with free of charge, lab-quality pregnancy testing services at Palm Beach Women’s Clinic.
Before Next Time
There are many ways to prevent unprotected sex, like condoms and other forms of birth control. However, these do not protect against all STI/STDs, and they are not 100 percent effective against pregnancy. If you want to stay completely safe from STI/STDs and unplanned pregnancy, you may want to practice abstinence, which is the only guaranteed method against these occurrences. Make sure you talk to your partner about expectations and concerns so that you aren’t faced with the prospect of unprotected sex in the future.
Palm Beach Women’s Clinic is here to serve women who are or think they might be unexpectedly pregnant. If you’ve recently had unprotected sex, schedule an appointment with us today for STD testing and pregnancy testing services.