Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Getting Pregnant (Or Avoiding It)

Pregnancy is what happens when a guy’s sperm meets up with a woman’s egg and the fertilized egg sticks to the lining of the woman’s uterus. So any type of sex where semen gets inside the vagina could result in a pregnancy—even if a guy’s penis is near but not inside the woman’s vagina when he ejaculates. It doesn’t matter what position you’re in—reverse cowgirl, missionary, standing, whatever. Sperm + egg + sticking to the uterus = pregnancy.

But just how likely is a woman to get pregnant from unprotected sex? It depends on where she is in her cycle.

Can I really get pregnant during my period?

The short answer is YES! If you have regular periods, you are less likely to get pregnant while on your period than at other times in your cycle—but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. How do I know it’s not impossible? There have been tests of a fertility awareness method called “Standard Days”—where women have unprotected sex at specific times in their cycle, including while on their period. About one in four women using this method get pregnant. The bottom line is that if you really don’t want to be pregnant, use birth control every time you have sex.

How can I tell if my period is “regular”?

A regular period is one that comes at about the same time each month. Most women have cycles lasting between 25 and 28 days, but there is a range. For some women, their regular cycle can be up to 35 days!

Here’s how to figure out whether you have a regular period:

  • Step 1: Start by counting the first day that your period begins as day one.
  • Step 2: Count each day after that until you get your period again.
  • Step 3: Start over with day one. That’s it!

If you count for a few cycles and all your periods are about the same number of days, then you have a regular period. Not every cycle will be the exact same number of days, but don’t sweat it—it’s normal to have a few days more or less each month.

Your period is irregular if it happens at very different times from one cycle to the next—for example, 24 days, then 32 days, then 27 days. If two or more months go by and you don’t have a period, that’s also irregular. It’s common to have irregular periods, especially within the first few years of starting to menstruate. If you have an irregular period, some methods of birth control can help make it more regular.

What does ovulation have to do with it?

In general, if you have any type of period and you’re not on a birth control method that blocks the release of an egg, you ovulate. Ovulation is the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary. A woman is most likely to get pregnant if she has sex without birth control around the time it happens.

If you’ve counted the length of your cycles as described above, you can estimate when you ovulate. It usually happens about halfway through your cycle. So for a 28-day cycle, it happens around day 14.

If you’re really into learning about your body, you can find out more about when you ovulate by checking your cervical mucus and taking your temperature every morning before you get out of bed. Before you try these techniques, I highly recommend taking a class about them or talking to an experienced healthcare provider. There are also ovulation kits you can buy at a drug store to find out exactly when you’re ovulating. Another chance to pee on a stick!

How soon can you test for a pregnancy after unprotected sex?

If you’re worried about a pregnancy, it doesn’t work to take a pregnancy test the day after you had sex. Here’s why:

  • It takes a fertilized egg about a week to implant into the lining of the uterus. Sometimes it can take up to 12 days.
  • Once implantation occurs, your body begins making a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
  • Home pregnancy tests measure hCG in urine to determine if you’re pregnant. Clinics can measure hCG in urine or in a blood sample.
  • It takes a little while for there to be enough hCG to measure with any test.

All this means that you have to wait two weeks after unprotected sex to get an accurate pregnancy test result.

It’s too early for a pregnancy test… Is it too late for EC?

If you’re worried about being pregnant and it’s been less than five days since you had unprotected sex, there’s one important thing you can do right away: use emergency contraception (EC).

  • Emergency contraceptive pills block ovulation up to 5 days after unprotected sex, although they are more effective the sooner you take them.
  • If you want emergency contraception plus long-lasting and highly effective birth control, consider a copper IUD. It prevents pregnancy when inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex, and goes on to provide almost 100% effective birth control for up to 12 years.

As always, if you have questions or want more details, talk to your health care provider!

Related:
When Are Women Most Likely to Get Pregnant?
Forget to Take a Pill? Get a Reminder Text
How Emergency Contraception Works

____________________________________________________________________________________

Meredith Warden MD, MPH is a Family Planning Clinical Fellow and an Ob/Gyn at the University of California, San Francisco. She lives in San Francisco with her fantastic skateboarding husband and their little mini dachshund named Stretch. She loves being outside doing anything, and reading anywhere, anytime.

 

Originally published on bedsider.org

160 comments

Larry S.
Larry S.2 days ago

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Larry S.
Larry S.2 days ago

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Karen M.
Karen M.3 days ago

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Karen M.
Karen M.3 days ago

GREAT THANKS TO DR. SAM THAT HELPED SAVED MY MARRIAGE AND HELPED ME GET PREGNANT.

I'm Stephanie Williams from USA, for over 4 years now of my marriage i have been trying to get pregnant, this almost made my husband to divorce me because my mother in-law was planning to get him another girl, i was always crying everyday because my marital life way going down. My mother in-law made my husband believe that i was the cause of us being able to give birth, i was always crying, my heart was broken into pieces. My husband and I have been seeing a fertility specialist. We have done one IUI with no luck. My husband has a sperm count which goes up and down,the doctor has recommended him taking the Proxeed supplement which he is doing over 3 years with no change in the situation my husband who has low sperm count? It just seems to me that if the sperm are unable to fertilize the egg it will not matter how many are produced. I am was so confused until i contacted this powerful spell caster online who I saw a number of testimonies of how he has help so many of them so I sent DR. SAM a mail and I told him all my sorrows and pain he replied me and ask me not to cry any more that he will help, he sent me some instructions and caution, DR. SAM (the spell caster) performed the ritual rights and I bought some items to complete the rights and he told me to have sex with my husband within 2weeks of doing this I felt dizzy and I went to the doctor and it was confirm that I was pregnant thanks to

Karen M.
Karen M.3 days ago

GREAT THANKS TO DR. SAM THAT HELPED SAVED MY MARRIAGE AND HELPED ME GET PREGNANT.

I'm Stephanie Williams from USA, for over 4 years now of my marriage i have been trying to get pregnant, this almost made my husband to divorce me because my mother in-law was planning to get him another girl, i was always crying everyday because my marital life way going down. My mother in-law made my husband believe that i was the cause of us being able to give birth, i was always crying, my heart was broken into pieces. My husband and I have been seeing a fertility specialist. We have done one IUI with no luck. My husband has a sperm count which goes up and down,the doctor has recommended him taking the Proxeed supplement which he is doing over 3 years with no change in the situation my husband who has low sperm count? It just seems to me that if the sperm are unable to fertilize the egg it will not matter how many are produced. I am was so confused until i contacted this powerful spell caster online who I saw a number of testimonies of how he has help so many of them so I sent DR. SAM a mail and I told him all my sorrows and pain he replied me and ask me not to cry any more that he will help, he sent me some instructions and caution, DR. SAM (the spell caster) performed the ritual rights and I bought some items to complete the rights and he told me to have sex with my husband within 2weeks of doing this I felt dizzy and I went to the doctor and it was confirm that I was pregnant thanks to

Larry S.
Larry S.4 days ago

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Am so happy..email him to help you too.
visit his website: http://greatsukusolutiontem.wix.com/dr-suku
his Mobil number +13104942113
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Larry S.
Larry S.4 days ago

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Am so happy..email him to help you too.
visit his website: http://greatsukusolutiontem.wix.com/dr-suku
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him email now:greatsukusolutiontemple@hotmail.com

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