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Could my girlfriend be pregnant if we had unprotected sex 14 days after her period started?
I have a question about pre-ejaculation fluid. I've always used the withdrawal method when I've had sex with my partners...but I was told recently that “pre-cum” might get a girl pregnant. Is this true? Also, could my wonderful new girlfriend be pregnant? The last time we had sex was 14 days after her period started. Lastly, can you recommend anything I can read to further educate myself on contraceptives?
Linda Lesondak, PhD on September 12, 2011
I’m glad that you came to us with your concerns, and I’m happy to help.
First, yes: pre-ejaculation fluid can contain sperm...and “pulling out” before ejaculation ⎼ or coitus interruptus (CI) ⎼ is a highly unreliable birth control method. So, yes, there is a possibility of pregnancy from unprotected sex even without ejaculation. Also, CI doesn’t protect you or your partner from sexual transmitted diseases (STDs)...but we’ll come back to that in a moment.
Could your girlfriend be pregnant? It’s hard to say without a pregnancy test, but let’s review how women typically get pregnant...pregnancy requires ovulation which usually occurs in the middle of a woman’s cycle. If your girlfriend has a consistent 28-day cycle, ovulation would most likely begin about 14 days after the day her last period began. But cycles can vary in length. Women are most likely to get pregnant by having unprotected sex in the days before ovulation.
Based on what you mentioned, pregnancy is a possibility...but the only way to know is to take a pregnancy test ⎼ either at home or at the doctor’s office. If you choose a home pregnancy test (HPT), follow the instructions carefully to achieve the most accurate results. And to be extra sure, your girlfriend should see her doctor.
Birth control. I also encourage you and your girlfriend to discuss your birth control options together and with your girlfriend’s gynecologist. If you don’t want pregnancy, there are many ways to reduce the chances of getting pregnant, from prescription methods to natural family planning. The Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer a comprehensive overview about types of contraception.
It sounds as if you are in the process of developing a trusting, caring relationship with your new girlfriend. If both of you have been sexually active with other partners before, I suggest that both of you get tested for a full panel of STDs. Remember, a lot of STDs don’t show symptoms for a long time...so one or both of you might have an infection and, if you haven’t been getting tested regularly, you may not know that you’re infected.
Using condoms is one way to help prevent STDs...and they can help prevent unintended pregnancy as well. If you both test negative for any STDs, and you’re sure that you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship, it’s typically safe to use other forms of birth control besides condoms. If one or both of you tests positive for an STD, you can get treated to avoid potential complications from untreated STDs, and you can use appropriate precautions to keep each other safe.
In the meantime, I encourage you to use latex condoms or dental dams for all sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Using a condom is one of the best ways to prevent STDs, as documented in a study published by theAnnals of Internal Medicine.
For more information about STD risks, prevention and testing, see our Expert Guide to STD Basics.
I wish you and your new girlfriend good health and well-being.
Dr. Lesondak is a Community Psychologist with the Chicago Department of Public Health. Her areas of expertise include STDs, HIV, preventive care, public health and community planning, as well as human sexuality and women’s health. Dr. Lesondak was educated at Georgia University in Atlanta.