Sex and pregnancy go hand-in-hand. We have lots of experience in giving the right advice for you about testing for pregnancy and what to do if you have a positive result. Thinking you may be, or finding out you are, pregnant often involves a whirlwind of emotions. It’s normal to worry about what to do. We can help

How can I tell if I’m pregnant?

How can I tell if I’m pregnant?

If you think you could be pregnant then you should take a pregnancy test. Modern pregnancy tests can start to detect pregnancy around 3 weeks from the last time you had unprotected (condomless) sex. The best time point to think of is they start to work from the first day of a missed period of a regular 28 day cycle.

You can get a pregnancy test in a number of ways. Most high street pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as a number of budget shops (eg. Poundland), sell reliable pregnancy tests – just make sure they are CE marked for quality.

You can  also ask for a free test from:

  • Any Devon Sexual Health service
  • Your GP practice
  • Most NHS walk-in centres

All tests are slightly different so read the instructions carefully, particularly the amount of urine needed and how long to wait for a result.

I have a positive result – what do I do now?

I have a positive result – what do I do now?

A test result is usually very reliable. A lot of people choose to take a second test to check, particularly if the test is only weakly positive. If they’re both positive then you’re pregnant. If you’re not sure what the result means then ask for advice.

The first thing to expect from a pregnancy result is to feel a number of different emotions, and suddenly have dozens of questions about what to do next. This is normal and knowing what you think is the right thing to do is often not easy.

In terms of setting a direction with a pregnancy you can decide to:

  • Continue with the pregnancy and become a mother
  • End the pregnancy by having a termination (abortion)
  • Continue with the pregnancy but choose adoption for the baby

This choice is yours and sometimes takes time to become clear.

I’m not sure what to do, who can help me?

I’m not sure what to do, who can help me?

Most people find help from talking to two groups of people:

  • People you know and trust such as friends, relatives or partners. This will help you to weigh up the emotions and practicalities of becoming a parent
  • People who you do not know well, such as the doctors and nurses at Devon Sexual Health. Speaking to someone confidentially about how you feel can often help you to talk through all the questions you have and feel more confident in your decisions.

We are happy to see you in our services to help. Good advice that is also available from your GP or by calling an established pregnancy advocacy group such as Marie Stopes or BPAS. Anyone under 25 can also find a lot of helpful information via Brook .

I want to carry on with my pregnancy – what do I do?

I want to carry on with my pregnancy – what do I do?

You need to register for antenatal care.  This is best done by speaking to your GP and letting them know about your positive pregnancy result. They will usually then put you in touch with a local community midwife who will look after you during your pregnancy.

We would also recommend starting taking regular folic acid as soon as possible, if you aren’t already doing so. This vitamin is available from most pharmacies and supermarkets at a usual dose of 400micrograms once daily. Some people need higher doses and your GP or midwife can advise you on this.

Other things to think about include decreasing or stopping smoking, drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs. Its also a good time to think about getting an updated STI screen.

More advice about improving you and your baby’s health.

If you would like to get advice around a termination of pregnancy (abortion)

If you would like to get advice around a termination of pregnancy (abortion)

We do not provide termination services directly from Devon Sexual Health but can refer you into local clinics who can. However all our services offer experienced and confidential advice about abortion. You can also discuss and request an abortion via your GP, as well as self-referring via services such as Marie Stopes or BPAS  – the closest self-referral services are available via Marie Stopes.

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Accessing our service

In response to the emergence of COVID-19 we have implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

We are currently experiencing high demand for our Sexual Health Services across Devon and Torbay with unprecedented demand in Exeter. Please note always review urgent cases the same day. If your need is urgent and you are struggling to reach us keep trying as our phone system will explain how to access same-day care with us.

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception here.

Self-requested STI testing by post is available for those aged under 25- more info

We are now running an under 18’s sit and wait clinic at Exeter, Torquay, and Barnstaple for more information click here

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - from a local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info