The idea that you may be pregnant, unplanned pregnancy or not, can produce a flurry of thoughts and emotions that cascade through your mind all at once. Pregnancy scares can be confronting, especially if you have been taking precautions, but perhaps the biggest concern for most women is about what to expect.

Unfortunately, accidents happen; you may have been caught up in a moment of passion, or the condom may have broken during the act. Plus, there’s also the fact that contraception is not infallible and a small percentage will fall pregnant, despite the best efforts of both partners.

If you have an unplanned pregnancy because of a failure in contraception or you got caught up in an unexpected passionate encounter unprepared, it’s important to know that there are options, and one is available over the counter at pharmacies everywhere.

It’s officially known as the emergency contraceptive (EC) pill, but you may have heard it being referred to as “the morning after” pill. Don’t take that term at face value though, as an EC pill can be taken 3 – 5 days after the fact – depending on which one you choose – but both have the best chance if taken within 24 hours.

Prevention is one thing, but pregnancies can happen when you least expect it and sometimes take you by complete surprise, but how can you tell if you are pregnant?

A missed period is usually the first sign, but if you aren’t regular in that department, there are other symptoms which may raise suspicions about your condition. Some of the other symptoms of pregnancy are feeling sick, vomiting, tender breasts, stomach cramps, frequent urination (more than usual), and moodiness.

How your body handles pregnancy, and the symptoms it manifests, will be unique to you as everybody is different. However, if you want to confirm a pregnancy the only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test or have an ultrasound which would require a doctor’s referral.

These days, anybody can buy a pregnancy test, and you can get them off the shelf at your local supermarket. Pharmacies, your family doctor, sexual health clinics, and family planning centres will also be able to help you out with supplying you a pregnancy test. No health care card or ID is necessary.

Timing your pregnancy test is a little critical as to how accurate it may be. Most home pregnancy tests work by measuring the levels of hormones in your urine. The levels begin to rise and are detectable a few days before your period is due, but accuracy will be greater if you perform the test on or after the date you are due. It is also best performed first thing in the morning when the hormone is most concentrated in your urine.

Pregnancy tests occasionally produce false readings, but overall, they are quite accurate. However, if you aren’t convinced by the first one, take another. Two pregnancy tests producing the same results is a pretty good sign that you are pregnant.

So, now that you know you are pregnant you are probably wondering what to do next; especially if the pregnancy has caught you by surprise.

You may have a ton of emotions coursing through you right now, and they’re not all because of the hormones currently flooding your system.  The first thing to realise is that there are people who can help you, with whatever direction you want to take, and advise you about all your available options.

Of course, after taking the pregnancy test, you may be breathing a sigh of relief. Now may be the best time for you to review your options for contraception, so your next pregnancy is not so much of a surprise, but more of a planned event. Visit for more information, professional advice, and a confidential chat.