Wondering if you’re pregnant?? New Gen can help!

Dear Shawna,

I think I’m pregnant, what should I do?!


We_Are_Here_To_HelpOne of the many things the health educators do at New Gen is help young women with this very same question.  That’s why I have enlisted the help of AmeriCorps member AND health educator, Angela, to answer this question.  To learn more about Angela, check out our Facebook page.

Angela’s Response:

First, take a breath–thinking you might be pregnant can bring up a lot of different emotions.  Next, pick up the phone and make an appointment to come see us at New Gen or at another family planning clinic.  Here’s what you can expect when you visit New Gen for a pregnancy test appointment:

Making the appointment:

Give us a call at 415-502-8336 to schedule an appointment.  If this is your first time coming to New Gen we will get some basic information from you over the phone.  We will also ask when your last period started.  We can only run a pregnancy test if you are at least 2 weeks late for your next period.  This is because a pregnancy test might be inaccurate (wrong) if we do it too close to your last period.

The appointment:

When you come to New Gen you’ll start by checking in at the front desk and filling out any needed paperwork.  The front desk will give you a plastic cup for your urine sample which we use to run the pregnancy test.  After you use the bathroom, have a seat in the waiting room.

A health educator will call your name and take you to a private room.  We usually have not run the pregnancy test yet, because we like to check in with you first.  Your health educator will ask you a few questions about your period, your partner(s), what type of birth control you use if any, and why you think you might be pregnant.  We let everyone know what their 3 options would be if it turns out they are pregnant (see below).  This is a great time for you to ask your health educator any questions you have and to think about what you might do if the pregnancy test is positive or negative.  The health educator will leave to run the test and come back in 5 to 10 minutes with the results.

The results:

No matter how you feel when you get the results, we are here to hear you out and provide the support you want.

If the test comes back negative, you are not pregnant (as long as you are at least 2 weeks late for your period and the last time you had unprotected sex was over 10 days ago).  If you have had unprotected sex in the last 10 days, there is still a possibility that you could be pregnant, but it didn’t show up on this test.  If this is the case, we will talk to you about the most appropriate time to test again to ensure an accurate test.  At this point, if you are interested, your health educator can tell you about the different types of birth control we offer at New Gen (for free!).

If the test comes back positive, you are pregnant.  You have three options: continuing the pregnancy and becoming a parent, continuing the pregnancy and doing an adoption, and ending the pregnancy with an abortion.  Your health educator can tell you more about each option and answer any questions you may have.  It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do yet, many people want some time to think over their decision, while others know what they want to do right away.  It’s also normal for people to change their mind.  Whatever you decide, New Gen supports you and your decision 100%.

In most situations, Medical will pay for whatever option you choose.  Your health educator will explain how to apply for Medical which will cover the cost of prenatal care or abortion services.  All your options will also be confidential (private).  In California, even if you are under 18, you can choose any of these options without permission from your parents or legal guardian.

In next week’s blog we will explain more about each of these three options and let you know about some great resources available for people who receive a positive pregnancy test.  If you have questions about any of this, don’t hesitate to contact us via email, blog comment, phone, or dropping by the clinic.  We are here to help!

-Angela Freitas, AmeriCorps member

Reviewed by Andrea Raider, NP

Managing Your Period – Toolbox for Aunt Flow!


P.S. There is another chance to win $25 to Old Navy at the bottom of this post. Leave your answer by commenting : )

Last but not least of the Menstrual Cycle Series (drum roll please):

Managing your period – Toolbox for Aunt Flow!

Having your period doesn’t have to be messy!  We’re talking about tampons, pads, menstrual cups, and panty liners – there are so many options you can find something you like. If you have the right tools you may even forget you’re even having your period!

First, a few things to know:

  • No method is better than the other for dealing with your period.  It’s a personal choice.  There are also a lot of different brands available for each option.  Again, no brand is better than another.  It’s all about personal choice.
  • When choosing your ‘tool’, you may see things like light, regular, super, or super plus.  It’s referring to the amount of blood your body is releasing.  Light for not so much bleeding.  Regular for normal amount of bleeding.  Super for heavy bleeding. Super Plus for super heavy days. Always choose accordingly.  And most women require various sizes within any one cycle because their flow may be different on different days.
  • Whatever you choose, changing it often is very important.  Usually every 3-4 hours.  For sleeping, be sure to use a method that says it can be worn up to 8 hours.
  • Don’t use anything with fragrance.  There may be a light odor during menstruation but it’s totally normal.  If there is ever a strong or unusual odor and lasts longer than your period, come see us.

 Pads:  A pad of absorbent material worn inside underwear to absorb menstrual flow.  Both disposable and reusable kinds exist.


Panty Liners:  Super thin pad designed to absorb daily vaginal discharge, light menstrual flow, or “spotting.”  Great backup for tampons (see below) or those super light bleeding days!


Tampons:  A tampon is a plug of cotton or other absorbent material inserted into the vaginal canal to absorb menstrual flow.  They come in all different sizes and with different applicators so you may want to try a few to see what feels most comfortable.  And NO it does not have any effect on virginity.  I promise.  Oh, and it can be worn while swimming!


Menstrual Cup:  A menstrual cup is a flexible cup (usually made from medical grade silicone) worn inside the vagina during menstruation to collect menstrual fluid.  Unlike tampons and pads, the cup collects menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it and can be worn for up to 12 hours!  Menstrual cups are more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly than tampons, most are reusable, and can be used for up to 5-10 years.  Like tampons, can also be worn while swimming!


Other tools for your toolbox:

Ibuprofen:   Ibuprofen (generic or same as Motrin or Advil) can be bought at any drug store or super market for a relatively low price. Great for menstrual cramps and headaches! Make sure to follow directions about how much to take and when!  Another type of medicine that can be good for cramping is Naprosyn (generic Aleve) which is long acting.  Both types of medicines work better if you take them as soon as you start to notice cramping, instead of waiting until you are doubled over in pain.


Heating Pad:  Also a good tool for menstrual cramps.  There are 3 types: electric, water, or one time use.  All 3 are sold at most pharmacies and super markets.  Also pretty cheap.


Exercise:  I know.  I know.  Most people do not feel like exercising while on their period but it really does help with cramps.  Moderate exercise can help relax muscles which can reduce cramping, headaches, backaches, and all kinds of body aches and pains.


And here’s another opportunity to earn $25 to Old Navy!

What ideas or theories are there about why many women crave chocolate during their periods??

Hint: Mineral

In happiness & health,


Reviewed by Kohar Der Simonian, MD

When Aunt Flow DOESN’T Visit….P.S. There is a chance to win something in this post!


Why is my period sometimes irregular?

If you miss your period and have had unprotected sex, the first thing to check for is pregnancy.  You can take a pregnancy test at home or come into to New Gen! Why would missing a period be a sign of pregnancy?? Leave a comment with the answer for a chance to win a $25 gift card to Old Navy!!!!


Different pregnancy tests need different amounts of time after a sexual encounter to show pregnancy.  At our clinic, at least 10 days need to pass after a missed period.

That being said, when a pregnancy test comes back negative, many girls wonder why they would have missed a period or why they only get their period a few times a year without being pregnant.  Almost every woman misses a period at some point in her life, for many reasons:


Age: For the first few years after a woman starts menstruating (in her teens) and for a few years leading up to her last period (in her 40’s or 50’s), it is common for periods to be irregular.  This has to do with the body’s adjustment to having a menstrual cycle or not having a menstrual cycle and changing hormone levels.  

Birth Control: Many birth control methods  can impact your cycle. Check out the list below to see which methods do what to your period.

  • The pill, patch and ring:  These methods usually cause very regular periods, happening during the fourth week of the method when there are no hormones.  Usually the periods are lighter, and shorter.  Women sometimes have some spotting at other times in the first month or two of starting this method
  • The Depo shot:  Bleeding can be very irregular at first, but will likely get lighter and lighter and possibly disappear entirely.
  • The Implanon:  Tends to make women’s bleeding irregular.  This could be many months of no bleeding, bleeding or spotting at irregular times, or spotting throughout the month.
  • The Mirena IUD (hormonal, 5 year): bleeding can be very irregular at first, but tends to get lighter and usually stops entirely.
  • The Paragard IUD (copper/non-hormonal, 10 year):  Women usually have a period in the same pattern as when using no hormonal birth control method (whether that is every month or not), but it is slightly longer, heavier and crampier than their normal periods.
  • Many women worry if they aren’t getting their periods that their bodies may be “clogging up” — but don’t worry, if you are not having your period because of a birth control method  it means that your body is simply not creating the uterine lining (hormones are what control the uterine lining development).
  • Missing a pill or patch – you can get unexpected bleeding or spotting for days afterward.
  • Stopping the shot – you can have several months of no bleeding or irregular bleeding before your normal period returns.
  • Taking the “morning after pill” can cause a little bleeding a day or two after you take it, and make your next period come a little earlier or later.

Stress/Changes:  If your period is usually regular, stress can cause a delayed period.  Perhaps you are feeling tired, worried, or dealing with a big change in your life.  For whatever reason your body may decide it is not a good time to get pregnant.  Over-exercise, poor nutrition, and sudden weight loss can all be kinds of “stress.”                        

Medical Problems: There are a couple medical problems that can cause skipped periods, including ovarian cysts, polycystic ovarian syndrome or amenorrhea.  If you are not getting your period and are not sure why, check with your doctor or make an appointment at New Gen.

As you can see, this is a complicated issue! Periods can be as different as women’s bodies are, and many, many life factors can have an effect on our cycles. We recommend using a calendar to keep track! There are many free menstrual calendars online as well as many popular phone apps!


If your cycle ever changes or you simply have questions about your periods, come see us!

Next Week:  Pads and tampons aren’t the only options when it comes to managing your period!!!

-Barbara Haupt, AmeriCorps Member

Reviewed by Debbie Davidson, NP

Aunt Flow’s Monthly Visit

Hi Everyone!

This week’s blog is written by one of New Gen’s AmeriCorp members, Barbara Haupt! To learn more about Barbara, click here!

We get questions about periods ALL THE TIME!  And because there is sooo much to know about periods, we have decided to split up the information and create a Menstrual Cycle Blog Series!!! We will start with The Basics!

The Basics

Let’s get on the same page about periods, menstrual cycles, and ovulation.  A period is the time of menstrual bleeding, when layers of the uterine wall and any egg that has been released are flushed out of the body.  Although the average age for periods to begin is around 12 years old, it can vary tremendously.  A typical period for most women lasts between 3 and 7 days.  Women experience all sorts of symptoms in the week or two leading up to their periods, including acne, breast tenderness, emotional changes, feeling tired, constipation, or unusual food cravings (chocolate!).  These are considered symptoms of PMS or “Premenstrual Syndrome.”  Some people really hate these sorts of symptoms, but others appreciate the reminder that their body is going through the same process every month!  These symptoms can help girls and women know their period is on its way.  Your menstrual cycle begins on the first day of one month’s period and ends on the first day of the next period.  For most women, this cycle lasts between 20 and 35 days, although it can be longer or shorter.


So why do girls have periods anyway?

Periods are a sign of fertility, meaning that girl or woman is able to get pregnant.  Hormones cause the walls of the uterus to begin thickening and trigger an egg to release from the ovaries and travel through the fallopian tube to the uterus. This release is called ovulation.  It usually happens about 2 weeks before each period and the egg survives for roughly 24 hours.  This means that the most fertile times for women whose cycles are regular is the 5-7 days leading up to ovulation and the day or two after.  But for a woman with irregular periods (especially teens) this is not a reliable way to keep track of when she will be fertile because ovulation could be happening at any time during the cycle!

Okay, although I could go on and on about periods, I’ll save some for next week.  And the week after : ) Have a specific question??? Email askshawna@yahoo.com

-Barbara Haupt, AmeriCorps Member

Reviewed by Debby Davidson