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You Asked: I Have an Irrational Fear of Getting Pregnant

Dear Sugar,

I have a rather strange irrational fear. Even though I am on hormonal birth control, use condoms, and never miss a period, I continually fear that I'll somehow magically get pregnant. This fear is quite literally taking over my life, not to mention ruining my otherwise wonderful sex life with my fiancé. I desire sex with him daily, but my fear of getting pregnant is so salient that I either make an excuse to avoid it, or just fall asleep while he is making a pass at me — we end up only have sex twice a week. I have been this way ever since he and I began having sex seven years ago.

My fear comes and goes with varying degrees, but it seems that it is worse during times of high stress. Every twitch, every headache, and every gurgle in my stomach is interpreted to me as a pregnancy sign. I feel like I am so alone. I know that I'm being ridiculous, but I cannot get it out of my mind. I am almost willing to go as far as sterilization to ease this anxiety. Do you have any advice? — Freaking Out Fionna

To see DearSugar's answer

Dear Freaking Out Fionna,

I'm glad to hear you call this an irrational fear because that's precisely what it is. Sure, there's always a chance you could get pregnant while using the precautionary measures you're using, but that is a very unlikely possibility, especially since you're doubling up on protection. Before you let this affect your relationship anymore than it already has, talk to your fiancé about what's going on — opening up to him will most likely make you feel less alone.

Since stress seems to aggravate your trepidation, do whatever you can to squash your fear whenever your worries surface. Put things into perspective and remember what the statics say about hormonal birth control and condoms. If you can't get control over this fear on your own, I suggest you consult your gyno or see a therapist so you can talk through your anxiety about getting pregnant with a professional. This is clearly taking over your life so it's imperative to nip it in the bud as soon as you can. Good luck.


Join The Conversation
Peas-On-Earth Peas-On-Earth 6 years
Hi, I also have an irrational fear. I take deppo injections, etc. Yet still If my body behaves in a way I can associate with pregnancy I start panicking to the point where I can't sleep. I don't really think about it until those moments, sometimes they're more common than others. I too thought as far as sterilization - and tbh, it still crosses my mind. It's kind of comforting in a weird way to know that there are other woman out there who have the same anxieties ... I was beginning to think of myself as an unnatural woman. I hope you find a solution to the issues you're facing :)
junglejulia junglejulia 7 years
hey the same thing happens to me! ...can´t stand it. I´m on the pill since 2001 never missed one and also use condoms. Still the fear of getting pregnant is huge.
oranges3 oranges3 8 years
Oh I am exactly like this! I hate it! I am constantly worried and I mistake every little irregularity in my body for pregnancy. Glad to know I'm not alone!
mollsamc mollsamc 8 years
I would say you have OCD. I had this fear since I started having sex since I grew up in a home with high standards and alot of guilt about sex. I wasn't supposed to be having sex and even years later I still obsessed about getting pregnant. I didn't know until my college years were over that I was suffering with OCD. I feared ever getting preganant because I thought I would disapoint my parents. Even at 27 I still have this fear.
DCStar DCStar 8 years
Talk to your fiance about what the two of you would do if you got pregnant. By communicating your fears and getting the idea out in the open, you may become less anxious.
bubblyw bubblyw 8 years
Honestly, I think this has less to do with getting pregnant than it does with your obsessing over it. As you explained, you know logically that you won't "magically" get pregnant, but worry about it anyways. It's affecting your relationship and getting in the way of you enjoying your life. Honestly, it sounds like you have some anxiety issues, and you owe it to yourself and your partner to get some treatment and live your life the way you want to.
CanadianKate CanadianKate 8 years
I had CBT, and I am psychology major going into clinical psychology to become a therapist, so i know a lot about it already.I tried the relaxtion techniques, and applied CBT to my life but it works only short term until something aggravating happens. THe couselling services at my school are overbook at this time of the year, and even during regular time, it takes almost 3 weeks. I am too busy to really try to shop around for another therapist, and I have absolutly zero money to pay for it anyways. Thanks though, but I somewhat think this is a biological thing with me since I have been like this as long as I can remember.
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
Hi Kate I just wanted to respond to you again. I am a Psychology student and I am disappointed to hear that your insurance ran out for your treatment. I just wanted to let you know that there is no reason for you to be ashamed of this. If you are a student, then you should check out the counselling resources at your school. They may be covered by your student fees or be fairly inexpensive. Also, there are many counsellors that work on a sliding fee, based on your income. I think that cognitive behavioural therapy may be a good option for you, but there are also other effective approaches to anxiety disorders. Generally, the therapy should not be long term, it should be a fairly short term treatment that gives you specific methods to deal with the anxiety on your own. Sometimes, medications can also help as well. You can also read self help books on anxiety that will allow you to learn methods such as relaxation techniques, to help you deal with your problems. Don't be afraid to research your disorder on your own, there are probably many things that you will be able to learn about dealing with this problem if you just do a bit of searching and reading. Good luck to you and I hope this helps.
CanadianKate CanadianKate 8 years
Hi Everyone, thanks for the support, this was my question I do have a servere aniety disorder and was seeing a therapist but my insurance ran out, and I couldnt afford the sessions. And at this point I'm trying to deal with it on my own, and it's even harder because I am in my last year of university. I am on Nuvaring and condoms ahev never failed us, and I have discussed this with my fiance a number of times and it's pretty much getting old for him to see me crying hysterically over my period being not coming EXACTLY at the time it's supposed to. So, something needs to change. I am ashamed of this, amd I think that a lot of you have some good ideas, thank you :)It's reasuring to hear people with similar problems. And those of you who said "GOD JUUST STOP HAVING SEX", that isn't an option, sex is such an important part of any intimate relationship, Besides, I had this fear before I started having sex.
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 8 years
I have the a friend that is going through this right now, she just changed birth control and she is like mortified.
meechie meechie 8 years
I don't know if this will help but the average women can only get pregnant certain days of the month which means even with OUT any type of birth control theirs a chance of not getting pregnant.
bbkf bbkf 8 years
I'm in the same boat to a lesser degree; my husband and I do not want kids, ever. I have talked to my gyno about getting my tubes tied, but they won't do the surgery because I'm "too young". Anyway, one thing that helped with my anxiety was talking to my husband about what we would do if I actually did get pregnant. Once I felt like we had agreed on a worse-case scenario plan, it helped to ease my fears a bit.
mikeperryfitness mikeperryfitness 8 years
Wow, that is a tricky situation. As many people have said before you should try and see a therapist. Is such a shame that it is having so much control over your sex life. I wish you all the best.
juicebox07 juicebox07 8 years
You have sex two times a week and you think that's barely anything? My boyfriend and I only have sex two or three times a month. As for your fear, this is the way I see it. If you're that scared of getting pregnant, stop having sex. It doesn't matter how old you are. You're most likely not to get pregnant anyway, but I'm sure it would help with your fear. No sex, no chance of pregnancy.
OrangeSugar OrangeSugar 8 years
I agree with whoever said to just buy a bunch of pregnancy tests and take one every time you feel anxious. In conjunction with therapy, seeing INSTANTLY that you aren't pregnant should help you ease out of this anxious cycle.
nikecold nikecold 8 years
Lord I have the same fear. Like sun_sun says my logic knows its irrational but you're still scared. I mean I never understood ppl who fear needles but I guess its the same feeling I have about sex and pregnancy. It sucks because its hard for me to get intimate.
Sun_Sun Sun_Sun 8 years
skigurl- my logic knows that but my fear doesnt. partly because i've heard stories of people who got pregnant on the green pill. the truth is they probably messed up before the green pills, but still :P
scorpstar77 scorpstar77 8 years
May I also just say that you're having sex "only" 2 times a week and you've been together for 7 years? Two times a week is a rather normal number of times per week for most couples who've been together that long. I know some do it more and some less, and your real issue here is the anxiety problems that I agree with everyone you seem to have and need to address, but stop beating yourself up over the number of times per week you have sex, which sounds perfectly within the range of normal considering the length of time you've been with your fiance.
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