Am I Pregnant? 14 Early Signs of Pregnancy to Look For

Am I Pregnant? 14 Early Signs of Pregnancy to Look For

If you’ve recently had sex, you may be wondering if you could be pregnant.

From the moment your baby is conceived, your hormonal levels rapidly increase to support the new life that is growing inside of you. Long before any visible changes to the body take place, most women will experience at least some of the 14 symptoms discussed here. The timing, duration, and severity of symptoms can vary. Symptoms can start as soon as the first week after conception, while other women do not notice anything different until four to six weeks later. read more

Our Commitment to Care and Competency

Our Commitment to Care and Competency

In everything we do, ACPC strives to offer professional and confidential services at no cost to clients. 

When you walk through the doors of ACPC Women’s Clinic, you’ll find a welcoming team of caring individuals who are here to help you without judgment or guilt.  Our main concern is helping you with the challenges you face today and the ones that lay ahead.  read more

Learn the Most Common STDs — And How to Protect Yourself

Learn the Most Common STDs — And How to Protect Yourself

If you’ve recently had sex, or you’re deciding whether to have sex, you’ve likely thought about sexually transmitted diseases. How common are they? What is the risk to women, and young people in particular? What’s the best way to prevent infection?

What Are the Most Common STDs?

The Centers for Disease Control keeps annual records on the so-called “Big 3” STDs — chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis.

Chlamydia was the most commonly reported STD in 2014, with more than 1.4 million cases. More than 350,000 cases of gonorrhea were reported, along with almost 20,000 cases of syphilis.

For other STDs — such as human papillomavirus, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis — the CDC uses much less detailed data collection methods and much less frequent reporting.

STD Estimated U.S. Prevalence Year of Most Recent Data
Chlamydia 1,441,789 cases reported 2014
Gonorrhea 350,062 cases reported 2014
Syphilis – Primary & Secondary 19,999 cases reported 2014
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 5.1% of Women ages 14-19 2007-2010
Herpes Simplex Virus 15.5% of persons ages 15-49 2007-2010
Trichomoniasis 3.1% among initial physician visits 2001-2004

Sources: (a) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2014. Accessed from http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats14/surv-2014-print.pdf. (b) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Accessed from http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats13/other.htm.

Special Concerns for Women

One of the most dangerous facts about STDs is that most cases are asymptomatic in their earliest stages — for example, approximately 80 to 90% of chlamydial infections and 80% of gonorrheal infections show no symptoms. This is very troubling because the longer an STD goes undetected, the more likely it is to cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women. PID can lead to a number of reproductive disorders:

  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Tubal factor infertility
  • Tubal scarring
  • Chronic pelvic pain

Once you’ve had sex, regular STD screenings are essential so that you can begin treatment right away if you test positive. Early treatment can sometimes clear up the infection and prevent permanent damage.

Special Concerns for Young People

Did you know that HALF of STD infections occur in persons age 15 to 24? Young women are particularly vulnerable, with about 25% of sexually active adolescent women having an STD of some kind. Young people face heavier cultural pressure from peers and the media to engage in risky sexual behaviors, compared to middle aged and older adults.

Prevalence of Chlamydia

Women contract chlamydia at twice the rate of men. The rate is also highest among adolescents and young adults, with young women once again being at special risk.

Gender Age Cases per 100,000 Persons
Women 15-19 2,941.0
Women 20-24 3,651.1
Men 15-19 718.3
Men 20-24 1,368.3

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2014. Accessed from

http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats14/surv-2014-print.pdf read more

Protecting Yourself from HPV and Cervical Cancer

Protecting Yourself from HPV and Cervical Cancer

Anyone who has ever had sex is at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), sometimes also called a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Did you know there’s one STI that actually increases your risk of developing cervical cancer, and other types of cancer?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI in the United States. Most sexually active adults will contract HPV at some point in their lives, and as of 2014, almost 80 million Americans were infected, with about 14 million new infections occurring each year. read more

The Myth of Condom Effectiveness

The Myth of Condom Effectiveness

Like many young people, you’ve likely thought about whether to become sexually active. Perhaps you’ve already had sex.

If so, you may have been given information about condoms or even provided with condoms for free at school or at your doctor’s office.

But just how effective are condoms? Can they keep you from getting pregnant or from getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD)? Let’s take a look at some common myths about condoms and how you can protect yourself.

Myth #1: Condoms are durable. read more

Alcohol and Your Sexual Health

Alcohol and Your Sexual Health

You and your family may enjoy many time-honored traditions for celebrating Christmas and New Year’s. But quite often, our celebrations include alcohol.

As a young woman, you may wonder how alcohol consumption could affect your sexual health and your ability to make healthy sexual decisions.

Let’s take a look at the relationship between drinking alcoholic beverages and risky sexual behaviors that could lead to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or unintended pregnancy.

Alcohol and Sexual Choices read more

What You Need to Know About Surgical Abortion

What You Need to Know About Surgical Abortion

Are you thinking of having an abortion as a possible option for an unplanned pregnancy? If so, you’ll want to gather the complete, accurate information you need to make an informed decision.

The two primary methods of abortion are chemical (or medical) abortion, which ends your pregnancy by taking one or more pills, and surgical abortion.

This article introduces you to two common forms of surgical abortion — vacuum aspiration and dilation and evacuation (D&E) — as well as the many health risks and long-term physical and mental side effects that affect many women who have this type of abortion.

What Is Surgical Abortion?

Surgical abortion is a procedure that ends a woman’s pregnancy by surgically removing the baby from her uterus.

There are two primary forms of surgical abortion. There are other methods for third trimester and late term abortions.

  • Vacuum aspiration abortion usually takes place within the first trimester of pregnancy, which is the first 12 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period.
  • Dilation and evacuation abortion (also called D&E) is performed on more advanced pregnancies during the second trimester, or 13 to 24 weeks after the woman’s last menstrual period.
  • read more

    What Should You Know About Chemical Abortion?

    What Should You Know About Chemical Abortion?

    If you’re considering abortion because of an unplanned pregnancy, it is important to gather as much information as possible to make an informed decision.

    There are two primary methods of abortion — surgical (induced) abortion or chemical abortion.

    In this article, we talk about two different forms of chemical abortion — the abortion pill and the morning after pill — along with the possible health risks for women who choose this type of abortion.

    What Is Chemical Abortion?

    Often called “medical” abortion, a chemical abortion involves taking pills to carry out the termination.  This method is the early pregnancy alternative to having the baby surgically removed.

    Abortion doctors promote chemical abortion as a simple, easy way to end a pregnancy, but because they stand to profit from your decision, they often fail to inform women about how the medications work and the possible significant health risks associated with their use.

    There are two primary forms of chemical abortion:

    1. Emergency contraception, also called the “morning after pill”
    2. RU486, the so-called “abortion pill”

    Emergency Contraception (The “Morning After Pill”)

    Emergency contraception, also called the “morning after pill” causes abortion by preventing implantation, which is when your baby attaches to the lining of your uterus after fertilization and is then shed from your body.  EC  (Emergency Contraception) may also disrupt the normal cycle of your menstruation or delay ovulation making it difficult to track your fertile phases.

    The two most popular brands of morning after pill are Plan B One-Step and Ella.

    • Plan B: Plan B is available over-the-counter, without a prescription, and contains the active ingredient levonorgestrel, a hormone that is often commonly used in other hormonal birth control pills.
  • Ella: Ella can only be obtained with a prescription from an abortion doctor. It contains the active ingredient ulipristal acetate.
  • read more

    What You Need to Know about Gonorrhea and Pregnancy

    What You Need to Know about Gonorrhea and Pregnancy

    What Is Gonorrhea?

    Also called “the clap” or “the drip,” gonorrhea is a sexually-transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It grows easily in the mucus membranes of your body, especially in the warm, moist environment of your reproductive tract, urethra, anus, mouth, or throat.

    The Centers for Disease Control estimates that about 700,000 new cases occur each year, less than half of which are actually reported to health officials. In 2012, 334,826 new cases were reported to the CDC.

    How Do You Get Gonorrhea?

    There are two main ways in which gonorrhea is transmitted:

    1. Having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner
    2. Passing the infection from mother to child during delivery

    The CDC reports that gonorrhea is most common among sexually active persons between the ages of 15 and 24. Sexually active teens and women, as well as men living a homosexual lifestyle, are also at special risk.

    What Are the Symptoms of Gonorrhea in Women?

    Most women with gonorrhea have no early symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they are usually so mild they are easily ignored or mistaken for other types of infections. Symptoms typically begin within 2 to 10 days of infection, sometimes as long as 30 days.

    When women do experience symptoms, they may include one or more of the following:

    • Increased vaginal discharge, often greenish yellow or whitish in appearance
    • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
    • Pain or burning when urinating
    • Conjunctivitis – red itchy eyes
    • Bleeding between periods
    • Spotting after having sex
    • Swelling of the vulva
    • Burning in the throat
    • Swollen glands in the throat

    Because most people experience few or no symptoms early on, there is a significant risk of long-term damage caused by lack of early treatment. Serious long-term complications of untreated gonorrhea can include the following:

    1. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): This condition can lead to long-term pelvic and abdominal pain. It can also lead to scar tissue formation that blocks the fallopian tubes, along with an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
    2. Blood or joint infections, some of which can be life-threatening.
    3. Increased risk of contracting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

    Diagnosis and Treatment of Gonorrhea

    The good news is that gonorrhea can be cured with medication. The bad news is that while medication can cure the infection, it cannot reverse any permanent damage that may have occurred. That’s why early detection and treatment are so important.

    If you have recently had sex, and especially if you’ve experienced any of the symptoms discussed above, it’s time to schedule a test for gonorrhea. ACPC offers free testing for gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

    If you test positive for gonorrhea, your healthcare provider will prescribe either an oral or injectible antibiotic. You must take all of the medication until it runs out, even if symptoms disappear. Never share your antibiotics with anyone, and wait at least 7 days after completing treatment to have sex again. Be sure notify all sex partners if you test positive, so that they can be tested and treated as quickly as possible, if needed. This will reduce their risk of long-term consequences, and prevent further spread of the disease.

    How to Reduce Your Risk of Gonorrhea

    There are only two ways to completely prevent gonorrhea:

    1. Abstain from all sexual activity
    2. Only have sex during marriage with an uninfected spouse

    While condoms may provide a small risk reduction, they have a surprisingly high failure rate even when consistently used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Your safest option for preventing STD infection is to limit the number of sex partners, practice sexual abstinence, and limit sexual activity to one uninfected partner after you get married.

    Gonorrhea During Pregnancy read more

    Chlamydia and Pregnancy – What You Should Know

    Chlamydia and Pregnancy – What You Should Know

    Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. According to the Centers for Disease Control, chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial STD in the United States.

    Since 1994, it has represented the largest share of all STDs reported to the CDC. In 2013 alone, more than 1.4 million chlamydia infections were reported, but because chlamydia is often asymptomatic, it is estimated that the true number of infections is over 2.8 million. Sexually active women under the age of 25 are at especially high risk.

    If you are pregnant and have chlamydia, there are special concerns for you and your baby. Let’s take a look at some basic facts about this disease and what to do if you are infected during pregnancy.

    What Are the Symptoms of Chlamydia in Women?

    Most cases of chlamydia are asymptomatic — meaning infected persons experience no noticeable symptoms in its early stages. It is estimated that about 75% of infections in women and 50% of those in men do not have symptoms.

    When symptoms do occur, they tend to appear about one to three weeks after infection.

    Here are the most commonly reported chlamydia symptoms in women:

    • Vaginal discharge that may have an odor
    • Bleeding between periods
    • Painful periods
    • Abdominal pain
    • Fever
    • Pain when having sex
    • Itching or burning near the vagina
    • Pain when urinating

    If you have recently had sex and experience any of these symptoms, you can contact ACPC. We provide free testing for chlamydia and other STDs.

    Can Chlamydia Be Cured?

    If diagnosed early, chlamydia can sometimes be cured with oral antibiotics.

    With treatment, chlamydia may clear up within a few weeks. You must finish all of your antibiotics, even after symptoms disappear, and your sex partner(s) should also be tested and treated to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Many women experience severe chlamydia and must be hospitalized to receive intravenous antibiotics.

    You should be retested after completing your treatment to confirm whether your infection is cured. Do not have sex again until you receive a negative chlamydia test.

    If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause chronic pelvic pain and damage your fallopian tubes. PID increases your risk of ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the baby implants and develops outside of your uterus. Other long-term complications include infertility and an increased risk of premature birth if you do become pregnant in the future.

    What if I Have Chlamydia While Pregnant?

    Chlamydia during pregnancy can result in low birth weight and is often transmitted from mother to child during delivery. If the baby becomes infected, he or she will often suffer from infections of the eyes, lungs, or other areas.

    Remember, if you are pregnant you can still become infected with STDs. If you become infected while pregnant, the consequences can be serious, and even life-threatening, for you and your baby. That’s why STD testing should be part of your regular prenatal care, so that if you do test positive, treatment can begin as early as possible.

    Pregnant women who have chlamydia may experience the following symptoms:

    • Vaginal discharge
    • Bleeding after you have sex
    • Itching or burning during urination
    • Preterm labor
    • Premature rupture of membranes protecting your baby in your uterus

    If you are pregnant and experience these symptoms, you should be tested for chlamydia. ACPC can answer your questions and provide a free chlamydia test.

    How Can I Keep from Getting Chlamydia? read more