5 Misconceptions about Conception
Journey House is a Pregnancy Resource Center. In addition to providing free services, we want to empower you to make good decisions about your sexual health. Here are five common misconceptions about getting pregnant.
1. I can get pregnant every time I have sex.
A woman can only get pregnant if she has sex around the time of her ovulation. A woman can get pregnant approximately 6 days out of every month. An egg survives anywhere from 12-24 hours but sperm can survive in the vaginal canal for up to 5 days. A woman can only get pregnant if she has ovulated and had sex within 5 days before she ovulates or during the 24 hour lifespan of the ovulated egg.
2. I can’t get pregnant because I’m using birth control.
There are many different forms of birth control. Hormonal methods (the pill, shot, patch, and vaginal ring), reversible methods (IUD), barrier methods (male and female condoms, diaphragm, sponge, spermicides) and permanent methods (vasectomy and tubal ligation). No form of birth control is 100% effective, so if you are sexually active, it’s important to know that there is always a chance of getting pregnant. According to the FDA, up to 20% of pregnancies occurred while using birth control methods and “the best way to avoid pregnancy is to not have any sexual contact.”
3. I can’t get pregnant if my partner pulls out before ejaculation.
The “withdrawal method”, also known as coitus interruptus, is defined as “the practice of withdrawing the penis from the vagina and away from a woman’s external genitals before ejaculation to prevent pregnancy”. This method is pretty unreliable. Not only is sperm present in pre-cum, or pre-ejaculation fluid (not all sperm are released at climax), but the withdrawal must be properly timed, which it is often not.
4. I can’t get pregnant because we’re just “messing around”.
Although it is unlikely for a woman to become pregnant without penetration of the penis into the vagina, it is still possible. If pre-ejaculation fluid or semen come in contact with a woman’s genitals or vagina it is possible for sperm to travel and an egg to become fertilized, causing pregnancy to occur.
5. I can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding.
It is very common for mothers who are breastfeeding to experience a delay in fertility, which is often referred to as the Lactation Amenorrhea Method (LAM) of contraception. Although this method works for some women, it does not work for all breastfeeding women. In order for the LAM method to even work, certain parameters must be followed exactly. First, you must be exclusively and frequently breastfeeding your baby. Pumping does not count; your baby must actually feed from the breast. Second, your periods must not have returned. Third, your baby is less than 6 months old. It is important to note that it is possible to ovulate without having a period.
If you suspect you might already be pregnant, find out for sure! Pregnancy Resource Centers are not only available to provide free services, but their caring staff is here to listen without judgement, answer questions, provide education and support, and give you information about the resources available in your community. Make an appointment today!