Can I Get Pregnant If...
Originally published September 9, 2017. Updated May 15, 2021.
As a general rule, if a pregnancy question begins with the fact that there was a penis inside of a vagina, the answer is probably, “yes, you could be pregnant.” The reality is people’s bodies are designed to reproduce. So in order to get them not to, you have to either abstain from sex or rely on the miracles of modern science (i.e., birth control). The following are 6 more scenarios that are NOT reliable ways to protect against an unplanned pregnancy.
You CAN get pregnant if…
- A person is on their period. Sperm can live in the vagina for five to seven days. So even if sex occurred when someone was on their period (and likely not at a fertile part of the cycle), the sperm can make themselves at home and wait around until they are fertile.
- You did jumping jacks after sex. Good for you for staying fit! Unfortunately, jumping jacks aren’t good for anything but getting your heart rate up.
- You used the pull-out method. Pulling out does reduce your chances of getting pregnant, but it’s hard to get right every time. So, while it can reduce your risk of pregnancy it’s not one of the most effective methods because even if you do successfully pull out, pre-cum (the stuff that comes out before ejaculation) can get you pregnant.
- Ejaculation happened right outside your vagina. You can actually get pregnant even when ejaculation happens near not in your vaginal opening. Any vaginal mucus that’s around your vagina help sperm to swim into your vagina and all the way up to meet an egg.
- You did a lot of drugs, had an eating disorder, or your body is unhealthy. Even if your body is unhealthy, your reproductive system is probably working just fine and it’s not worth the risk to have unprotected sex. That being said, if you are suffering from an eating disorder or have addiction problems, you should seek help immediately.
- They’re a stoner, wear tighty-whiteys, or drink a lot of Mountain Dew. The answer is basically the same as above. So maybe your partner’s habits are lowering their sperm count from 4 million to 3 million. Even so they’re still working with A LOT of sperm.
There are no tricks or exceptions when it comes to preventing pregnancy. The only way to reliably protect yourself from pregnancy is to use an ACTUAL method of birth control. And though nothing, other than not having sex, is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy, birth control methods can be 99% effective. Make sure you keep yourself protected. Every time.
Learn more about how pregnancy happens:
Note: We do our best to respond to questions in the comments, but if we've already answered your question in the article or another comment, we may not answer it again. If your question is time sensitive, we recommend calling the San Francisco Sex Information (SFSI) hotline at 415-989-SFSI (7374) or contacting a health care provider. You may also want to check out one of our sequels to this post, Umm can I Get Pregnant If…: Part 1 and Can I Get Pregnant If…?: Part 3.