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Can I Get Pregnant If…

Curious if you can get pregnant if you have sex underwater? While on your period? If you jump up and down right after? The answer is usually: YES (if you're having unprotected sex then it's definitely yes...it it's protected, you're a bit safer but there are still risks). Check out this week's Ask Us Anything where we answer all your best "Can I Get Pregnant If..." questions!

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Can I Get Pregnant If...

There are tons of myths out there—and you need to know the facts.

People say if you take birth control pills but don't take it for a few days, you can get pregnant. Is that true?

Yes it is true. Any time that you’re not taking your birth control as directed, you increase the risk of pregnancy. Pregnancy is definitely possible depending on how many days you skip taking your birth control pill.

If you miss a pill, you should take the pill you missed as soon as you can. If you take the pill less than 24 hours after you were supposed to and it's not the first week of a new pack, you don't need a back-up method—just take the pill you missed and relax. If it's the first week of a new pack of pills, you'll want to use a back-up method like condoms if you have sex in the 7 days after missing your pill.

If you’ve missed two or more pills, call your health care provider and plan to use a backup form of birth control until you’re sure you’re back on track.

If you’re looking for a new birth control that you don’t have to remember to take every day, check out our Birth Control Explorer or visit your provider to see what options are available to you.

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Can you get pregnant on your period?

Yes! Any time that you have sex—even during your period—there’s a chance you’ll get pregnant, especially if you’re having unprotected sex. You’re most likely to get pregnant around the time of ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary), but is possible to get pregnant at any time during your cycle. Many women have irregular period cycles or unpredictable ovulation, and it’s especially common for teens to have irregular cycles. Plus, sperm can stay alive and swimming in the body for days after sex.

If you’re having sex, your best bet is to use birth control—ideally, use a hormonal method and a condom (to help prevent STIs as well as pregnancy). There’s a ton of birth control methods out there, so check out our Birth Control Explorer to find one that works best for you.

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Is it impossible to get pregnant if you use multiple types of protection--condom, birth control, and morning after pill?

Any time that you have sex, there is a risk of pregnancy—no matter what methods you're using. However, using these methods in tandem greatly reduces this risk. It sounds like you’re being really responsible with sex, and that’s awesome. But remember, emergency contraception is not intended to be a primary method of birth control. The only way to prevent pregnancy 100% is to practice abstinence, but if you do choose to have sex, using several methods of protection is a great idea. 

Talk to your health care provider about which methods of birth control will work best for you so that you can be sure you a) find a good fit with your method(s) and b) know exactly how to use your method(s)—if you’re not using your birth control the right way, then it’s definitely not going to be effective. Need a doc? Try our Clinic Locator, and for more information on the types of birth control available to you, check out our Birth Control Explorer.

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He wasn't wearing a condom for the first 2-4 mins. Can I get pregnant from just that short amount of time of intercourse?

It is possible to get pregnant if you begin having intercourse without protection because the penis produces something called pre-ejaculate (or pre-cum). It is usually just a natural lubricant, but there is definitely the chance that it can hold sperm, particularly if the guy has recently ejaculated (either through sex or masturbation). Even more—pre-cum can carry sexually transmitted infections like HIV.  This means that, even if you’re not having full on sex or if the guy didn't officially ejaculate, you could still be at risk for pregnancy or STIs just through your partner’s pre-cum. Next time, put on a condom before intercourse begins. Better yet, consider using condoms along with another method, like the birth control pill, patch, or ring or even a long acting method like an IUD or implant.  You can find out a ton about the different methods using our Birth Control Method Explorer.

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Can you get pregnant during placebo pill week when you're on birth control?

You aren’t running any extra risk by having sex during the placebo week of the pill. Of course, they work best—including during the placebo week—if you’ve been taking the pill consistently and correctly for the previous three weeks. To be extra safe—and protect yourself from STIs, which the pill won’t do— make sure you’re always using a condom.

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Can I get birth control without my parents knowing?

You can get many kinds of birth control without your parents knowing, even if you’re a minor. One of the easiest methods of birth control to obtain privately is condoms, because there are no age restrictions and they’re really easy to get. If you’re interested in hormonal birth control (like the pill, patch, ring, shot, implant, and IUD), those require a visit to a health care provider. Each state makes its own laws about confidentiality for patients under 18. When calling to make an appointment, tell your age, ask if you need parental consent for your visit and the method you want, and ask whether the clinic guarantees confidentiality. If you’re visiting your usual health care provider’s office using health insurance under a parent’s name, try calling your insurance and doctor’s office to ask about confidentiality. 

Need help finding a clinic? Use our clinic locator; just type in your zip code for all the info you’ll need to find a health center nearby.

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Is it safe if we rinse a condom and then reuse it?

No! Condoms are definitely not reusable. You need to put on a new one each and every time you have sex. 

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Can I get pregnant if there's semen on his hands?

Anytime semen is near the vagina—whether it’s on you or your boyfriend’s hand—there’s a possibility it could get inside and cause a pregnancy.  But the situation described is not one that is particularly good for sperm. Sperm live longest in warm, moist environments, like a woman’s body.  In fact, after ejaculation, sperm can live in the vagina for up to five days!  In contrast, sperm outside the body may only last minutes to a few hours because the semen dries out and the sperm die.

Your best best is to make sure you’re protected with birth control. There are so many birth control options, so check out our Birth Control Explorer and have a chat with your doctor to find a method that works for you.

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