DR. WALLACE: I'm 16 and dating for the first time. Naturally, I'm a virgin and plan on keeping it that way until I get married. I'm positive of this.
My best friend gave me a condom yesterday. She told me to take it with me every time I go out with a guy, just in case. It's the first time I've ever seen a condom, but I took it and put it in my school locker. My friend told me she "never leaves home without one" when she goes out with a guy. She, too, says she's a virgin and plans to remain that way for a while, but she wants to be safe rather than sorry in case she gives in to a guy during one of her weak moments.
I've been giving this a lot of thought. Don't you think a girl could be talked into having sex more easily if she knows she will be protected?
That's one reason why I wouldn't carry one on a date. Also, I'd be scared to death my mother would find it. What would I say to her? "Mom, I carry a condom so I won't get pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease if I have sex with a guy, but, of course, I expect to remain a virgin until marriage"? What do you think? — Not Likely to Need Protection, via email
NOT LIKELY: Your friend's desire to remain a virgin "for a while" is far more wishy-washy than your determination to stay that way until marriage, so she will be far more likely to have a "weak moment" on a date and engage in premarital sex. In her case, carrying a condom in her purse could be a sensible precaution.
Your commitment to abstinence seems strong enough that carrying a condom while on a date will not be necessary. I agree with you; you don't need one in your purse.
FOLATE PROMOTES A HEALTHY PREGNANCY
DR. WALLACE: I'm 18, pregnant and planning on having my baby. I've been told by my friend's mother, who is a nurse, to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables containing folate to help me have a healthy baby. She told me to eat certain foods, but, other than nuts, I don't remember which ones. Would you please give me your take on this? Why is folate so important? — Mom to Be, Las Vegas
MOM TO BE: Studies have shown that an adequate amount of folate lowers the risk of birth defects involving the brain and spine of developing babies. Foods high in folate (a B vitamin) are beans and lentils. Peanuts, sunflower seeds, walnuts and almonds have folate. Oranges, pineapples, cantaloupe, bananas and avocados lead the fruits list, while broccoli, asparagus, spinach, okra and dark green lettuce are good vegetable sources. You need 400 micrograms of folate daily.
Make sure you talk with your doctor about any diet you might undertake, and please accept my best wishes for a happy and healthy pregnancy and new arrival in the near future!
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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