FAQ: Could I Be Pregnant?

Question: 

Could I Be Pregnant?

 

Answer: 

Here at SexInfo, we believe in the importance of widespread knowledge about the various ways a female can become pregnant and the degree of risk involved with certain sexual behaviors. We would like to assure you that if you are experiencing a potential pregnancy scare, you are not alone. We are here to help debunk certain myths about this topic and provide women and men either relief from their unnecessary anxiety, or affirmation of a potential pregnancy. If you are a female and wondering if you could have gotten pregnant from a sexual encounter with a male partner, see the below scenarios to see if one relates to your situation. We highly encourage that you and your partner always use a form of contraception that works best for you (i.e. the male condom, the pill or an IUD (intra-uterine device).

 

ZERO CHANCE OF PREGNANCY
 
We were only kissing. Kissing does not involve the transfer of semen to the vagina, so there is no risk of pregnancy.
 
I gave him oral sex and he ejaculated in my mouth. Although semen is being ingested, there is no way for his sperm to unite with an egg when the semen enters your digestive tract. There is a zero chance of pregnancy from performing oral sex on a male partner (however there is the potential transmission of sexually transmitted diseases without the use of a condom).
 
We slept in the same bed. We did not do anything sexual but he got an erection. There is zero chance of pregnancy when two individuals do not engage in sexual activity of any kind. Simply lying beside a male without sexual interaction will not increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

 

LOW CHANCE OF PREGNANCY

I am on a hormonal method of birth control and my partner ejaculated inside me. It is true that there are no 100% sure safe methods from pregnancy or STIs other than abstinence, but contraceptives like the pill are so effective that the chances of becoming pregnant are incredibly low. However, we still encourage you and your partner to “double up” on birth control to maximize protection (i.e. in addition to taking the pill, use a condom and employ the “pull out” method).

We had penile-vaginal sex with a condom. Latex or polyurethane condoms (not lambskin/natural) provide an excellent source of pregnancy protection, as well as protection against STI transmission, if used correctly. You and your partner must make sure the condom is undamaged (no rips or tears, no damage from extreme temperatures, etc.), within the expiration date (located somewhere on the wrapper), and applied correctly (rolled along the shaft of the penis with an air reservoir at the tip for the ejaculate). When your partner withdraws, it is important to make sure the condom does not slip off of his penis and is properly removed away from the vulva. (How To Put On a Condom)

He ejaculated but we were wearing thick clothing. The chances of becoming pregnant under this circumstance are small. Most likely, sperm will not be able to find their way through densely woven fibers. The same goes for wearing multiple layers of clothing.

He ejaculated but a long way from the vaginal opening. If your partner happens to ejaculate near your vulva (external genitalia), there is a slim chance that you could become pregnant. Sperm can be pretty strong swimmers. However, if he ejaculates anywhere else on your body (stomach, leg, arm, back, etc.), chances of pregnancy are virtually nonexistent. To calm your fears of an unintended pregnancy, just wipe off the semen after ejaculation, or better yet, have your partner use a condom for better protection.

 

MEDIUM CHANCE OF PREGNANCY

We had penile-vaginal sex using the withdrawal method. The withdrawal method is not a reliable source of birth control. The male may not be able to control his ejaculate long enough to “pull out,” especially if he is engaging in sex for the first time or ejaculates quickly. Also, the male’s pre-ejaculate, often called “pre-cum,” that is present before he orgasms may contain semen left in the urethra from a previous ejaculation.

He ejaculated near my vaginal opening, but not in it. If ejaculation does not occur directly into the vagina, the chances of pregnancy are lower than if the ejaculate is released inside the vagina. Nevertheless, there is still the possibility that pregnancy can occur. Sperm may find their way into the vaginal canal even if semen made contact with your vulva. Making sure that your partner ejaculates away from you is one way to keep the semen away from your vaginal opening.

He ejaculated near my vagina but we were wearing thin clothing. Thin, permeable clothing, such as underwear, is not a protective barrier from microscopic sperm. Unlike a latex or polyurethane condom, thin clothing (like cotton) contains pores that may allow semen to pass through and find their way to the vaginal opening. If a thin layer of clothing was the only barricade between the vaginal opening and your partner’s ejaculate, be wary.

 

HIGH CHANCE OF PREGNANCY

We had penile-vaginal sex with no condom. You are at the highest risk when having sex with no protection, especially if you are not using a form of hormonal birth control. In order to maximize your protection from pregnancy, it is wise to use a primary and secondary method in combination with each other (i.e. a condom and the pill, condom and the shot, or withdrawal and an IUD.)

We had penile-vaginal sex and the condom broke. This puts you at a high risk of pregnancy due to the likelihood that semen entered the vagina when the condom broke. It is important to check the quality of the condom and read the directions on the package BEFORE SEX to avoid a pregnancy mishap.

We had sex without protection but then I tried to wash out the semen. As semen is released into the vagina the active sperm immediately begin to swim up into the uterus, making it impossible to “clean out” all of the sperm.

 

If you are ever worried about the possibility of pregnancy, you can visit a physician or local family planning center (i.e. Planned Parenthood) and pick up Plan B. You do not need a parent to access this resource and Planned Parenthood will respect your anonymity. Plan B is not an abortion pill. It will not terminate or affect an existing pregnancy, but if taken within 5 days of unprotected sex, it can interfere with ovulation and fertilization. Another option is to visit your doctor and consider the implantation of an IUD (intra-uterine device). If inserted within five days of unprotected sex, this method of emergency contraception is almost as effective as sterilization.

 
When it comes to sex, communication is key. It is very important to talk to your partner about intimacy and contraception before sexual behaviors occur. Which methods are reasonable for your lifestyle? What sexual behaviors are you comfortable engaging in? If you decide not to use a method of birth control, are you at a point in your life where you could handle and support a pregnancy? If you have engaged in behaviors that may potentially result in pregnancy, consult a physician or contact your local family planning resource center.

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