Birth Control & Pregnancy

Con­doms are incred­i­bly effec­tive as a method of birth con­trol, and they aren’t the only option.

There are a lot of dif­fer­ent ways to pro­tect your­self from unwant­ed pregnancies.

This is where you will learn about oth­er birth con­trol meth­ods as well what to do when you sus­pect you or your part­ner might be pregnant.

Birth Con­trol Meth­ods and Emer­gency Contraception 

Con­doms are the best way to pro­tect against both preg­nan­cy and STIs. For more infor­ma­tion on con­doms, check the Con­doms page by click­ing on the link above. How­ev­er you may want to use con­doms along with anoth­er form of birth con­trol for extra pro­tec­tion from preg­nan­cy in case the con­dom breaks or if you can’t count on your part­ner to always use condoms.

For more infor­ma­tion about birth con­trol, click on some of the most com­mon options below. You will find basic infor­ma­tion about each method, includ­ing the cost and if they’re cov­ered under cer­tain health plans. For more detailed infor­ma­tion, please see your doc­tor, nurse prac­ti­tion­er, or nurse, or vis­it your near­est clin­ic.

Longer-act­ing choices:

Choic­es that need more fre­quent attention:

A choice that’s less effec­tive, but still an option:

Emer­gency contraception:

Non-hor­mon­al/bar­ri­er methods

For infor­ma­tion on the Con­tra­cep­tive Sponge, Lea shield, Cer­vi­cal Cap, Diaphragm, and Sper­mi­cide, check out Non-Hor­mon­al Meth­ods on the Sex­u­al­ityan­dU website.

If you’re not sure what the best birth con­trol method is for you, check out this online app: Choos­ing Wise­ly, on the Sex­u­al­ityan­dU web­site. It asks ques­tions and gives you per­son­al­ized options that you can dis­cuss with your health care provider.


Most peo­ple don’t know they’re preg­nant until after they’ve missed their peri­od – one of the first signs of preg­nan­cy. But there may be oth­er rea­sons you might miss your peri­od, like stress, weight loss, or a missed birth con­trol pill. If you’re sex­u­al­ly active and have missed a peri­od, make sure to have a preg­nan­cy test.

Here are some more signs of preg­nan­cy to watch for:

  • Nau­sea or vomiting;
  • Spot­ting (light bleed­ing from the vagina);
  • Swollen or sore breasts;
  • Mood swings;
  • Feel­ing tired a lot;
  • A change in appetite;
  • A metal­lic taste in your mouth;
  • Dark­en­ing are­o­las (the cir­cles around your nip­ples); or
  • Sen­si­tiv­i­ty to smell.

Preg­nan­cy Tests 

You can pick up an at-home preg­nan­cy test at any drug store. Basi­cal­ly, all you do is pee on a stick and wait a few min­utes while the test checks for the preg­nan­cy hor­mone. If it’s present, the test will show as pos­i­tive for preg­nan­cy. If it’s not present, the test will show as negative.

It’s impor­tant to know that some­times, a preg­nan­cy test can show as neg­a­tive even though it should be pos­i­tive. This is called a false neg­a­tive’ and hap­pens because it can take a while for the preg­nan­cy hor­mone to show up, so you might get a neg­a­tive result and then re-test a few days lat­er and get a pos­i­tive. It’s almost impos­si­ble to have a false pos­i­tive’ result, though, so if a preg­nan­cy test turns out pos­i­tive, chances are very good that you’re pregnant.

A health care provider or clin­ic can con­firm your results, either through a urine (pee) test or a blood test. A blood test can be use­ful because it is more accu­rate. The preg­nan­cy hor­mone shows up ear­li­er in blood tests than it does in urine tests, so ask your health care provider for a blood test if you’ve had a neg­a­tive at-home test and your peri­od is late.

Preg­nan­cy Options 

I’m preg­nant. Where do I go from here?

Find­ing out you’re preg­nant can bring on a lot of dif­fer­ent – and often mixed – feel­ings. You might feel:

  • scared;
  • excit­ed;
  • over­whelmed;
  • hap­py;
  • shocked;
  • con­fused;
  • alone;
  • angry;
  • denial;
  • and/​or a com­bi­na­tion of all of these.

It can be help­ful to talk to some­one about the way you’re feel­ing and to sort through your dif­fer­ent options. If you don’t have a sup­port­ive friend or fam­i­ly mem­ber who can lend an ear, you can speak in pri­vate to a coun­sel­lor at a clin­ic.

No mat­ter what you choose to do, it’s impor­tant to seek out health care as soon as pos­si­ble. Wait­ing too long to get care may lim­it your options. Try to seek out peo­ple and places that will help you make the deci­sion that is best for you. Some places may only give you infor­ma­tion on par­ent­ing or adop­tion, and not all the facts on abor­tion. If you feel pres­sured to make only one choice, you may want to get sup­port some­where else. Remem­ber, only you get the final say on which option is right for you.

If you’re preg­nant, your options include par­ent­ing, abor­tion, adop­tion, and guardian­ship. Get all the infor­ma­tion you need to make your decision.


If you’re con­sid­er­ing par­ent­ing, you can speak to some­one at a Teen Clin­ic or a com­mu­ni­ty health cen­tre to get infor­ma­tion on the sup­ports avail­able to you. These might include:

  • Coun­sel­lors;
  • Book­lets and infor­ma­tion pack­ages on parenting;
  • Cours­es on nutri­tion for you and your child, or on pos­i­tive par­ent­ing; or
  • Sup­port groups made up of oth­er young parents.

If you’re under 18, Child & Fam­i­ly Ser­vices (CFS) will open a file on you and your child so they can check on how you’re both doing. They under­stand you might face extra chal­lenges when you are a young par­ent and want to sup­port you through them.

Pre­na­tal care is very impor­tant for both your health and the health of your fetus. If you show up to the hos­pi­tal to give birth with­out hav­ing had any pre­na­tal care, the hos­pi­tal will be required to alert their social worker.

If you are preg­nant or have a baby under the age of one, you can attend a Healthy Baby Com­mu­ni­ty Sup­port Pro­gram (click for loca­tions). They offer par­ent­ing sup­port, infor­ma­tion about infant devel­op­ment and healthy nutri­tion, healthy lifestyle options and the oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­nect with oth­er parents.

Should you choose to par­ent you may qual­i­fy for a month­ly cheque to help you buy healthy foods that you need dur­ing preg­nan­cy. This is called the Man­i­to­ba Pre­na­tal Ben­e­fit, and is for fam­i­lies with a net fam­i­ly income of less than $32,000/year. Click here for more info.


Abor­tion is a way to end an unwant­ed preg­nan­cy. It is safe and legal in Man­i­to­ba, when car­ried out by a qual­i­fied doctor.

Some doc­tors per­form ear­ly abor­tions in their offices, while oth­ers are done in spe­cial­ized clin­ics. They can be done up to 16 or 19 weeks of preg­nan­cy in Win­nipeg (depend­ing on the doc­tor) or up to 10 weeks in Bran­don. Win­nipeg and Bran­don are the only cities in Man­i­to­ba where you can get an abortion.

Abor­tions do not cost any­thing as long as you have a Man­i­to­ba Health card (they may cost up to $500 if you are from out of province), and you can get them done with­out parental con­sent. If you are plan­ning on get­ting one done with­out parental con­sent, you may want to go to a teen clin­ic as they can get you into a doc­tor who will do it with­out parental con­sent sooner.


Adop­tion involves car­ry­ing a preg­nan­cy to term (giv­ing birth), and then allow­ing the baby to be adopt­ed into a fam­i­ly that will raise and care for it as their own. Some peo­ple aren’t phys­i­cal­ly able to have their own chil­dren, so adop­tion gives them a way to become a par­ent with­out giv­ing birth.

Adop­tion involves sign­ing an agree­ment 48 hours after the birth, giv­ing up parental rights. After this is signed, the birth par­ents are giv­en 21 days to change their mind. If they do change their minds, CFS will con­tin­ue to work with them as they begin to par­ent. If they do not change their minds, all parental rights are per­ma­nent­ly terminated.

Birth par­ents can request an open adop­tion, which allows them to keep in con­tact with the adop­tive parents.


Guardian­ship is when some­one oth­er than the par­ent takes legal respon­si­bil­i­ty for rais­ing the child on a short-term or per­ma­nent basis. This can include an extend­ed fam­i­ly mem­ber or a non-fam­i­ly mem­ber. This per­son must make a for­mal appli­ca­tion through a lawyer to be the guardian. Unlike oth­er adop­tion place­ment process­es, parental rights are not auto­mat­i­cal­ly end­ed so that one day the bio­log­i­cal par­ent may be able to re-apply for guardian­ship and par­ent the child. 

Where to go for help 

You may be preg­nant, but you’re not alone. There are peo­ple who can sup­port you, dis­cuss your options, and help you make your deci­sion. Try to find some­one who won’t make you feel bad or pres­sure you.

You may choose to talk to:

  • A fam­i­ly member;
  • Friends;
  • A coun­sel­lor;
  • A doc­tor or nurse prac­ti­tion­er; or
  • A pub­lic health nurse.

Places you can go for sup­port and infor­ma­tion include:

For part­ners 

If your part­ner has an unplanned preg­nan­cy, it can be a hard time for you too. Just like your part­ner, you might feel a lot of dif­fer­ent emo­tions. You could also feel help­less, as your part­ner gets the final say on which option to choose.

You can talk to your part­ner, if you’re able to, but there are oth­er peo­ple who can pro­vide sup­port to peo­ple in your situation:

  • Coun­sel­lors can help you cope with the deci­sion your part­ner makes.
  • Post-abor­tion sup­port, father­ing sup­port, and adop­tion sup­port are also available.

Con­tact a clin­ic to get infor­ma­tion on coun­selling and oth­er sup­ports that can help.

Relat­ed Links