Answering questions and breaking down common misconceptions about pregnancy and sex!
Despite being one of the few topics that’s actually reliably covered in basic school sex education, pregnancy is still a subject that a lot of people are confused about. As someone who discusses sex online, a large percentage of the questions I get from people are about pregnancy concerns. If I do this, could I get pregnant? If I did this, could I be pregnant? So today I want to get into some of the most common pregnancy misconceptions I hear on a regular basis.
Sidenote: Throughout this video I’m going to use the word “sex” as a shorthand for penis-in-vagina intercourse that can potentially lead to pregnancy. There are of course many other kinds of sex, and the things I say in this video may not apply to them. I’m just trying to keep things simple, so let’s go!
I’d say roughly half of the “could I be pregnant?” questions I get are asked within a few days of the person being exposed to a pregnancy risk. Often they’re asked within 24 hours. And this makes me nervous because in these cases not understanding how pregnancy works can be impeding their ability to prevent the pregnancy if it’s unwanted.
You do not get pregnant the same day you have sex.
Becoming pregnant is a process with several steps after ejaculation into the vagina, and it can take up to two weeks for an egg to be released, fertilized, and to attach itself to the lining of the uterus. It’s only after that implantation that you are actually pregnant. The closer the sex was to ovulation, when your body releases an egg, the shorter the process can be, but even if the egg is right there and ready to go as soon as the sperm arrives, implantation can still take anywhere between 6-10 days.
This is why the morning after pill works and why it does not cause abortions because there is a window of time after sperm enters the body where the process can still be disrupted and pregnancy prevented from ever occurring. If the sex you’ve had is very recent, within the past five days, odds are you are not pregnant, but you’re still at risk of pregnancy. Emergency contraception can work for up to five days (though it’s more effective the sooner you take it), so if you’re within that period of time I highly recommend you get your hands on some if you’re concerned about becoming pregnant.
Now let’s get into the pre-cum question.
Can pre-ejaculate get a person pregnant? Unfortunately this question does not have an easy yes or no answer. It’s theoretically possible. We do know from a couple of studies that some people’s pre-ejaculate does contain a low number of active, swimming sperm. When you have active sperm, there is some risk of pregnancy. Whether or not people have actually become pregnant from pre-ejaculate or how common those sorts of pregnancies are, no one knows. Pre-cum is assumed to be low-risk, though I would always err on the side of caution and use some form of contraception.
Finally, I want to talk about period sex and whether or not it can lead to pregnancy.
Some people think of the time you’re on your period as a safe window where unprotected sex can’t get you pregnant, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Certainly there are points during your cycle where the risk of pregnancy is greater or lesser, and a person’s period is often a time of lesser risk, but it can vary significantly from person to person. People’s cycles can be different lengths, and, as I mentioned, sperm can hang out in the body for quite awhile waiting for ovulation.
If pregnancy is a concern for you, I wouldn’t recommend having unprotected sex at any point in your cycle. Even if you’re trying to track your fertility, people are rarely able to track it perfectly, and the failure rates for imperfect tracking are higher than the failure rates of your typical barrier or hormonal methods of contraception.
For more information on sex and pregnancy I highly recommend checking out The Midwife Is In, which is a great advice blog run by a professional midwife. I’ll link them and also their YouTube channel in the video description.
If you’ve got any other questions about pregnancy for me, leave them down in the comments!
Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time!