In this section, when we say "woman," we mean someone who is assigned female at birth (AFAB)-- someone with a uterus or XX chromosomes. However, it's important to remember that people of any gender can get pregnant! Visit the LGBTQ+ page to learn more about the difference between sex and gender.
To learn more about emergency contraception (which should be used as soon as possible after any type of unprotected sex if you don't want to be pregnant-- ie, semen got inside you in any way and you’re not on regular birth control, a person didn’t pull out in time, didn’t use a condom, the condom broke, or you missed birth control pills), visit the Contraception page. To learn more about abortion, visit the Abortion page. You can also visit one of the clinics listed below, or talk to us on Violet.
Almost any time a penis is in a vagina, pregnancy can happen. Semen (also referred to as cum) contains sperm. When sperm meets an egg inside a woman’s body, fertilization occurs. This fertilized egg (embryo) attaches itself to the wall of the uterus to possibly grow into a fetus and eventually a baby.
Signs of Pregnancy
For most people, the first sign of pregnancy is not getting their period at the expected time.
Once a fertilized egg attaches itself to the inside of the uterus, the body will stop the monthly cycles of releasing more eggs and shedding the bloody uterine lining—so in most cases, your period won’t come.
If you believe you might be pregnant:
Take a pregnancy test as soon as possible. This is a little stick that you pee on. They give the most accurate results when used after you miss your period. Anyone can buy them with no questions asked at a store like CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart for about $15, or order one on Violet.
Or, you can go to one of the clinics listed below. You don't need an appointment to get a free pregnancy test, just walk in anytime that the clinics are open. You can also make an appointment, and they will help you understand what’s going on with your body (whether you’re pregnant or not) and what your options are.
Chat with Violet and we can help you.
If you are pregnant, you have options:
You could choose to continue the pregnancy. The centers above will provide you with a list of resources to help you get prenatal care (healthcare during your pregnancy is really important to ensure that you and your baby are safe and healthy, and to diagnose problems and get treatment as early as possible).
You could choose to continue the pregnancy and consider adoption. The centers above will provide you with a list of agencies that can help you.
You could choose to end the pregnancy. The centers listed below will provide you with abortion services or refer you to an abortion provider.
What is an abortion like?
Abortion is a safe way of ending a pregnancy. It can be as simple as taking a pill at home, or sometimes coming into the clinic for a simple procedure. You can still get pregnant again in the future afterwards. If you think you may want an abortion, it is best to call or visit one of the clinics listed above as soon as possible, or talk to a provider through Violet. It can be harder to find options as you get further along in the pregnancy, especially after 12 weeks since your missed period. You can visit the Abortion page to learn more.
What is pregnancy like?
During pregnancy, an embryo grows into a baby inside of your uterus over 9 months. Your body experiences lots of changes during this time, so it’s very important for your health and the health of your baby that you see a doctor. The clinics listed above can help you during the process.
1 to 12 weeks (3 months)
13 to 26 weeks (6.5 months)
27 to 40 weeks (10 months)
Visiting the doctor during pregnancy
Visiting the doctor while you’re pregnant is extremely important for your health and the health of your baby!
After having a baby
What am I allowed to do or not do during pregnancy?
Smoking Marijuana (Weed)
Demystifying Childbirth (Delivery and C-sections)
Childbirth can seem like a very scary unknown process, but seeing your OBGYN doctor regularly throughout your pregnancy can help you feel better prepared. Some pregnant people choose to also have a doula, or a nonmedical professional who specifically helps them throughout the pregnancy and childbirth process. Additionally, there are centers and classes that can help you make a birth plan and otherwise get ready. Ask your OBGYN for which doulas, centers, or classes they recommend.
As you get closer to delivering your baby, you might start to feel contractions, which is when the womb or uterus, a very strong muscle, forcefully tightens. When these contractions become especially strong and regularly frequent is a sign you might be ready to deliver soon, so your doctor might recommend you come to the hospital at that point. Another sign is when your water breaks, which is when the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby inside your uterus is broken. The fluid that the baby was floating in and cushioned by will leak out through your vagina.
Delivery can be painful, but there are various pain management options. Epidurals are very common. An epidural is when the specialized pain doctor delivers pain medication directly to your spinal cord through your lower back. This is usually stronger pain relief than just getting pain medicine through an IV to a blood vessel in your arm.
Delivery can last many hours, especially if this is your first childbirth, but health care professionals will be checking in on you and your progress regularly. They will ask to insert a finger into your vagina to feel your cervix, or the tip of the womb, to see how much it is opened. The dilation amount, or how much it has opened, shows how close the baby is to coming out. They will also put painless sensors on the outside of your belly to track the baby’s heart rate and your contractions. As your cervix becomes more dilated, they will help you start pushing. It is very normal for all the pushing to cause a pregnant person to poop. The nurses are prepared with wet wipes to keep everything clean.
Right after delivery
There are a few things you can decide before you deliver, and a doula can you think about these things. These include:
Skin-to-skin contact right after delivery
Delayed cord clamping
Designating someone to go with your baby for all out-of-room procedures
Doctors will usually put your baby right on your chest as soon as delivery happens (skin-to-skin contact). The nurses will help quickly check out and wrap the baby in a blanket. If the healthcare team is concerned about the baby, neonatologists (specialty newborn baby doctors) may temporarily take the baby to care for it. Your partner can cut the umbilical cord if they choose; this is painless, and the nurses will show you exactly when and where to do it.
The OBGYN doctor will make sure you are alright. You will deliver your placenta with one last push. The placenta is the organ that provided the baby with blood from your body. Sometimes, there will be tears in the vagina that the doctor will quickly repair, usually with a single stitch or two. This will not affect the “tightness” of the vagina. The vagina is made up of muscles that naturally relax and tighten to change its own size naturally. A doctor should only ever place stitches if it is necessary to stop bleeding from the vagina. If there is any concern that you are bleeding nonstop from your uterus, the doctors will go through procedures to stop the bleeding, including pressing on the uterus and giving you medication.
After childbirth, you will usually stay in the hospital for a day or two, while the doctors make sure your baby is healthy. If you have any problems or worries about the future, this is a great time to ask for help. The staff can help you find contraception/birth control (if you don’t want to immediately get pregnant again), and they can help you figure out how to breastfeed your baby. Your body will recover and every day should be progressively less painful. C-sections may require an extra day or two in the hospital, and the doctor will explain how to take it easy to protect your surgical wound.
Where to get help
You will never be turned away based on age or ability to pay.
here at Johns Hopkins!
here at Johns Hopkins!
through the Johns Hopkins Children's Center
200 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore MD 21231
Be aware that “pregnancy crisis centers” often do not have legitimate doctors or provide you with all your options. We recommend avoiding places like Baltimore Pregnancy Center, Women’s Care Center, and Women’s Center West. Learn more about telling if a clinic is legitimate here.