A romantic encounter at the office party may sound like the icing on your Christmas cake, but it could also leave you with an unwanted gift in around nine months time. According to statistics, more babies are conceived around Christmas time than at any other.
Add a Christmas cocktail or three into the mix, and it's easy to see how some might be unlucky enough to end up with an unplanned pregnancy.
So if your party schedule is as hectic as ever this year, don't get caught out. Here's how to play it safe ...
Don't let the frenzy of Christmas parties lead to contraception slip-ups. If you're going away - even if it's just for one night - pack your pills or other contraception in your overnight bag before you pack anything else. And if you're on the pill, set the alarm on your watch or mobile phone to remind you to take it, as going away or having a hectic social life can often throw your normal routine out.
If you're single carry a supply of condoms with you every time you go out. Buy them from chemists, supermarkets, garages and other shops, or pick some up free at your local family planning clinic or sexual health clinic.
Don't be shy
A survey by the makers of the morning-after pill suggests more than half of women say they feel embarrassed about asking for advice about using the morning-after pill. Nine out of ten women also say they didn't realise they could take it up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex.
Find out more about the morning-after pill - including where you can get it. For instance, most pharmacies sell the morning-after pill to over-16s, but you can also get it free of charge from your GP, family planning clinics and NHS walk-in centres. And wherever you are, there should be a pharmacy open in your area over the Christmas period (to find out which ones open and when, visit NHS Direct).
Eat, drink (but don't be too merry)
Yes, we know we're talking about Christmas parties, but try to watch what you drink, since studies show people are far less likely to use contraception after having too much booze.
Similarly watch what you eat, since an upset tummy can make the pill less effective (especially if you have sickness or diarrhoea). If that happens, keep taking your pill as usual, but if you have an upset stomach for more than three days take the morning-after pill too, just in case your usual pill won't work properly.
And remember what your mum would say: if you can't be good, be careful.
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