Let’s say pulling out during sex is your preferred method of avoiding pregnancy. It works for you because it can be applied any time as long you do it right. Besides, you know the facts. Sperm can live in your body for up to 5 days and If your partner ejaculates inside you, especially during your fertile window you could get pregnant. What about pre-cum? Can it get me pregnant? Am I still safe?
What is Pre-cum anyway?
You know that whitish fluid that comes out from the tip of the penis during sexual arousal but before full ejaculation. It looks very similar to semen and is what we refer to as Pre-cum or pre-ejaculate. Pre-cum has two main roles. One is to neutralize the acidity of the urethra tract and the other is to serve as lubrication for sexual intercourse. The thing is, Pre-cum isn’t something you can control. It is an involuntary release that happens right before ejaculation. This is why the withdrawal method doesn’t work as well at preventing pregnancy as other birth control options, such as condoms or pills.
So is there sperm in Pre-cum?
While pre-cum doesn’t actually contain any sperm, it’s possible for sperm to leak into pre-cum. This does not always occur and when it does, there are not very many sperm cells; however, it is possible and should not be ruled out. During sex, semen may linger in the urethra after ejaculation and mix with pre-cum while it’s on its way out. It helps to have your partner pee before you have sex to help flush out any leftover semen, reducing the chance of sperm appearing in pre-cum.
Now onto the question, you have been waiting for…
Can it get me pregnant?
Simply put, YES it can! Many people believe that pre-cum doesn’t include sperm, so there’s no risk of unintended pregnancy. But that’s not true. Though the chances are low, the sperm cells inside of precum could potentially cause pregnancy. Even if your partner pulled out right before climax, pre-cum is still likely to enter your vagina. Generally, the withdrawal method (pull-out) is about 73% effective at preventing pregnancy.
What about if I'm not ovulating? Can pregnancy occur?
Sorry to burst your bubble but even if you are not ovulating, pre-cum could still get you pregnant! You must be thinking how? We’ll explain. It is a fact that pregnancy is likely to happen when you are ovulating. However, sperm can live in your body for 5 days. What it means is that if sperm is inside your reproductive tract before ovulation, it’s possible it’ll still be there and alive when you do ovulate.
If you have sex regularly for five days before and on the day you ovulate, you have a higher chance of getting pregnant. Ovulation typically happens around the middle of your menstrual cycle. That’s about 14 days before you start your next period. Those with irregular periods will have a more difficult time knowing when they’re ovulating and fertile. But this is something the Grace Health app can help you with! 😊
What can I do if it happens?
That’s where emergency contraception comes in! The withdrawal method is not always effective and if you suspect a small chance you may get pregnant, you can opt for emergency pills as a way of contraception. Most emergency pill contraceptives are effective within the first 72 hours and the effectiveness depreciates with time.
Chances of getting pregnant from pre-cum may be small but it is still possible. Sperm can still be present in the urethra and mix with pre-cum that’s released before ejaculation. If you use the pull-out method often, keep in mind it is only 73% effective and may not always work. If you wish to avoid pregnancy choose a more reliable contraceptive method that will work for you. Also, consider keeping emergency contraception on hand to help. For any other concerns or in the likelihood of a positive pregnancy test, see your doctor and they will walk you through alternative options or future birth control methods.
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