Pregnancy is the term used to describe the period in which a person carries a fetus, or fetuses, inside their womb, for about 40 weeks, or just over nine months. Once teenagers reach the age of puberty and begin to produce sperm or start menstruation, they are biologically able to create a pregnancy. A person with a womb can become pregnant, once they have started ovulating, when sperm from semen is released in the vagina during unprotected sex. 

There are a few signs that can indicate a pregnancy:

  • A missed period can mean a person is pregnant 

  • Full and tender breasts and/or sensitive nipples

  • Feeling nauseated and/or vomiting

  • Feeling unusually tired

  • Feeling bloated

However, a missed period doesn't always mean a pregnancy - it could be that the person has irregular periods. Therefore, the only way to be sure whether you’re pregnant is to get a test in a health center or to use a pregnancy test bought in a pharmacy. When you find out you are pregnant and want to carry the pregnancy to term, it is important to go to the health center for regular checkups and good monitoring. This will benefit the pregnant woman and the baby, and even more so when the pregnant woman is HIV positive. With the right treatment and care, HIV transmission to the baby during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding can be prevented.

Just because young people are biologically able to bear children doesn't mean that they are ready to take on that responsibility. Many young people are not physically, emotionally, or socially prepared to be pregnant or have children.

It is important that people in a relationship talk about having children and know each other’s wishes around children. They need to discuss whether they want children, how many and when. They also need to talk about contraceptives to prevent pregnancy in case they don’t want to have children at that moment. Free and informed decision-making about pregnancy and childbirth is a basic right. If a pregnant person doesn't want to carry their pregnancy to term, it is their right to decide what happens to their body! Have a look at our pages on Contraceptives and Safe Abortion to learn more. 

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