It is Sunday morning and the euphoria of Saturday night’s escapades starts to wear off as the reality of the new dawn sets in. You Had Unprotected Sex. You then begin to frantically look around the room for your clothes so that you can make a run for it and go call your girlfriends to start a gossip fest/panic attack convo while simultaneously planning on where to go have brunch. I mean…c’mon… you have to start drowning out this guilt! But wait, before you do all of that there are a few things that you really need to do:
1. Talk To Your Sexual Partner: As much as you want to body roll off of the bed and army crawl out the door so that you can start your shame spiral, you really need to have a conversation with the man that you have had sex with. If you have been dating him for a while this conversation will be a lot easier, but even then it can be uncomfortable. You need to ask him if he has ever been exposed to any STDs and when is the last time that he has been checked for STDs.
2. Emergency Contraception: If you are not on a reliable form of birth control, you are going to need emergency contraception. The easiest form of emergency contraception is the pill form, aka, brand name, Plan B. Plan B is recommended for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, but it is most effective if taken within the first 24 hours. It is important to know that 1 in 8 people that take Plan B will still get pregnant, which is why it is called Plan B and not Plan A. The most common side effects include abdominal pain, nausea, breast tenderness, dizziness and fatigue, but these side effects usually only last a few days.
3. Call Your OB/GYN: It is super important that you call your OB/GYN to make an appointment for a full STD screening. You will also want to have follow-up appointments at both 6 weeks and 6 months to repeat testing. In the meantime, start to monitor what is going on down there and note anything that is out of the ordinary. If you notice any redness, irritation, abnormal discharge or abnormal bumps you will want to get in to see your doctor ASAP, so that they can observe the symptoms that you are having.
4. Take a Pregnancy Test (In 2 weeks): You will need to take a pregnancy test approximately two weeks after you have had unprotected sex. If the pregnancy test is negative, I recommend taking a second test one week later for reassurance. If you have taken Plan B you may experience irregular spotting for one month and you may not get your period that cycle and therefore, you cannot rely on the presence or absence of your period to tell you if you are pregnant. You can also have a serum (blood) pregnancy test drawn at your doctor’s office if you want to be even more accurate.
5. Think Ahead: If you are going to be having sex then you need to be protecting yourself. In the future, use a condom to protect yourself from STDs and find a form of birth control that you trust and that suits you.
Now that you know the steps that you need to take, you are free to commence in the gossip fest with your girls, but hopefully you feel a little more confident about what to do and you can actually enjoy sharing the fun part of the story.