By Melissa Unger
An unplanned pregnancy can be one of the biggest challenges anyone can face and on this season of “Real World: Ex-Plosion,” one couple, Lauren and Cory, experience it.
After feeling nauseous, Lauren takes an in-home pregnancy test and discovers that she is pregnant. Scared, she turns to Cory and whispers to him the news. This the second time in the 22-year history of “The Real World” that a pregnancy has been announced on the show, but Lauren is going through something that’s all too familiar. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “about half (51%) of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the United States each year (3.4 million) are unintended.”
And in case you’re wondering, the first ‘Real World’ pregnancy scare was back in 1993. On “The Real World: Los Angeles,” Tami found out she was pregnant, terminated her pregnancy and stayed on the show.
As emotions run high, Lauren and Cory face difficult decisions, and have to be honest with each other and confront the unknown as a result of this unplanned pregnancy. Both are confused and unsure about the facts of pregnancy. So, to clear up the air, here are four facts about sex from tonight’s “Real World” episode. Shall we?
+ Fact: You have to wait 2 weeks after unprotected sex to get an accurate pregnancy test result.
When Lauren tells Cory, he reacts by telling her, “You know it’s not mine — two days it’s not going to happen.” But then Cory does question his own behavior with Lauren, saying, “Me and Lauren had sex two days ago, emotions kinda took over in the time and the last thing on my mind was using protection.”
Worried that the child could be his, Cory consults with the other guys in the house, who tell him that there is no way that this baby could be his given the timing of things. A hurt and angry Cory confronts Lauren, saying, “This is something that happened before you got here.”
If you have unprotected sex and are worried you might be pregnant, don’t take a pregnancy test the next day. One big reason: It takes a fertilized egg about a week to implant into the lining of the uterus. Sometimes it can take up to 12 days. Bottom line: You have to wait two weeks after unprotected sex to get an accurate pregnancy test result.
+ Fact: Plan B is most effective within 24 hours of having unprotected sex.
After chatting, Lauren confesses that she has not been completely honest with Cory. “We did not use a condom, but I took Plan B the day after,” she says.
If you have unprotected sex or the condom breaks, you can reduce the risk of pregnancy, but you need to act really quick. Emergency contraceptive pills (sometimes called morning-after pill or Plan B) may be taken within 120 hours (5 days) of having unprotected sex, but they are most effective within the first 24 hours.
Studies show that emergency contraception reduces your chance of pregnancy by 75 to 89%. It is not an alternative to regular contraception, which is much more effective in preventing pregnancy.
Women 18 years and older may buy emergency contraception directly from a pharmacy without a prescription. Younger teens still need a prescription from a health care provider. Emergency contraception costs about $45; it may cost less or be free at family planning clinics and health centers. To find a provider near you or for more information, call the Emergency Contraception Hotline at 1-888-NOT2LATE or go to not-2-late.com.
+ Fact: Condoms are the only birth control method that protect against pregnancy AND STDs.
Lauren did not practice safe sex with Cory or the guy back home. She isn’t alone. About 3 in 10 teen girls in the US will get pregnant at least once before the age of 20. It doesn’t have to be this way. The only way to prevent pregnancy (other than abstaining from sex) is to use protection.
And along with getting pregnant, Lauren could have easily contracted an STD from either partner. 1 in 2 people having sex will get an STD by age 25. Seriously.
When used consistently and correctly each and every time you have sex, condoms are the only method that protect against pregnancy and STDs. The condom must be put on before there is any genital contact. With perfect use, only 2 out of every 100 women will become pregnant in a year.
+ Fact: Honest is the best policy.
When it comes to your health and the health of your partner, honesty is the best policy. No matter how embarrassing and heartbreaking, honesty can save your partner’s life as well as get you on to a path of reconciliation and forgiveness.
For instance, Lauren tearfully says to Cory, “I’m embarrassed. I’m scared. I was an idiot. Yes, I could have been smarter, but I did take precautions. … I didn’t want this to happen. Who wants something like this to happen? Can you just be here for me?”
Only after Lauren came clean did Cory realize what Lauren needs right now is a friend. He says, “I’m going to be that friend that I need to be to her right now. … She made sure that I wasn’t alone, and I want to do the same thing for her.”
All stats from It’s Your (Sex) Life unless otherwise noted.
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