Dear DOLLY DR,
I'm 16 and I recently had sex with my boyfriend for the first time. I'd just finished my period and I'm not on the pill, but at the end, my boyfriend found that the condom had come off, but he didn't know when. What are the chances off me getting pregnant?
Lisa Good on you and your boyfriend for using condoms & and keep doing so! Unfortunately, condom accidents do happen from time to time. The chances of becoming pregnant are actually highest just after a period up until the middle of the cycle (exactly between periods).
As you probably know from your own experience, the menstrual cycle is almost never completely regular like clockwork, so this "most risky" time can vary from month to month.
What you can do when caught out by a condom is take the "morning after pill". This is now called "emergency contraception" because it can actually be taken up to five days after unprotected sex and not just the morning after.
This is available over the counter at pharmacies, or via prescription from your local doctor or Family Planning Clinic. It involves taking two pills, 12 hours apart, and can be over 90 per cent effective at preventing pregnancy.
The sooner it's taken after unprotected sex the more effective it is. The "normal" pill, if taken daily as prescribed, is up to 99 per cent effective, and condoms, if used properly are up to 95 per cent effective and have the added bonus of greatly reducing the risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection.
Using both methods is an excellent way to double your protection. You can talk to a doctor confidentially about your contraception options.