Susannah Birch is a certified birth doula, journalist, and owner of Trimester Talk, a leading pregnancy website.
The Chances of Getting Pregnant Without Protection
Many teenagers and adults make mistakes when it comes to rushing into a relationship or into bed with someone. Of course in the heat of the moment, it's entirely possible to forget about protection.
However, if you don't use birth control, it's very easy to fall pregnant or contract a disease or infection. The following information is written for anyone who has had unprotected intercourse and wants to know what the chances are of pregnancy.
These questions are answered in this article:
- Can I get pregnant if the condom breaks?
- What are the chances of getting pregnant after sex with a condom?
- What is the most fertile time for a woman?
- What are the symptoms of pregnancy?
- How long can sperm live?
And remember, next time use contraception!
What Are the Chances I Am Pregnant?
- For every fertile woman who has unprotected sex, there is a 20% chance that she will get pregnant. What does this mean? For every 100 women who have unprotected sex for a month, 20 of them get pregnant.
- Whenever you have penetrative sex or contact between male and female genitals, it is possible to become pregnant.
- You can get pregnant the first time you have intercourse or at any time of your monthly cycle.
- A man does not have to orgasm for the woman to fall pregnant.
- Even if the sexual contact lasted only a few seconds there is a small chance of pregnancy.
- The withdrawal method is not a method of birth control. Pre-ejaculate fluid (the clear stuff that comes out of a penis before ejaculation) can still make a woman pregnant.
- There are millions of sperm in each male ejaculation, meaning there are millions of tiny chances of you falling pregnant.
That's the general information. For more specifics about whether you might be pregnant and what to look for, read on.
Can I Get Pregnant After Sex With a Condom?
"A woman can definitely become pregnant after sex even if a condom is used, if the condom outright breaks, has a hole in it, or slips while the partner is exiting the vagina," says Dr. Tami Prince, a gynecologist at the Women's Health and Wellness Center in Marietta, Georgia. "Even the slightest opening in the condom that is invisible to the naked eye can allow for sperm to enter the vagina and migrate towards the Fallopian tubes where fertilization occurs. If a woman happens to be ovulating at the time, the risk of pregnancy is increased."
While the effectiveness of a condom is 85%, that means that out of 100 women who used a condom as birth control for a year, 15 of them may have become pregnant.
When a condom is not put on correctly, an air bubble between the latex and the penis can cause the condom to break or slide off. Be sure that you know how to put a condom on correctly. (For simple, not explicit, directions, watch the video below.)
Also, condoms can break! When this happens, the birth control method failed and you have had unprotected sex, which means you could become pregnant.
Can I Get Pregnant After Sex Without a Condom?
Yes. Intercourse without a condom, or any other contraception, is unprotected sex. Depending on where you are in your cycle, there is about a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant from intercourse without a condom.
How to Put a Condom on Correctly (Not Explicit!)
Only Use Water- or Silcone-Based Lubricant With a Latex Condom
Oil-based lubricants destroy latex and will cause the condom to break.
How Likely Is it I Will Get Pregnant?
These are the kinds of sex that give you a reasonable chance of falling pregnant:
- Unprotected penetrative sex (with or without orgasm).
- Any contact between fresh sperm and the vagina.
- When a condom breaks.
- Using the withdrawal method.
- Sex in any position, including missionary, doggy-style, and standing up.
- When you have missed a birth control pill or taken them incorrectly (always follow the instructions.)
Can I Get Pregnant Any Time of the Month?
"While pregnancy can occur at any time during the menstrual cycle, the risk of pregnancy is greatest within 24 hours of the LH surge, which signals ovulation," says Dr. Prince. "The chance of pregnancy decreases to extremely low levels immediately before a period, as ovulation would have already passed and the uterine lining has already broken down in preparation for menses. Pregnancy may occur immediately after your period depending on the day a woman actually ovulates and the day of intercourse."
While fertile women have a 20% chance of getting pregnant after unprotected intercourse, there are factors that can lead that number to go up or down. Those factors include the woman's age, whether there are any issues with her Fallopian tubes, and her ability to ovulate."
What's the Risk of Pregnancy From Sex With Contraception?
The following is a list of the kinds of sex that give you have a small or close to no chance of falling pregnant: (remember, it is still possible to fall pregnant these ways.)
- Right before or during your period.
- Using a condom (.01% chance).
- While on the birth control pill (.01% chance).
- While using a condom and birth control pills (very rare but does occasionally happen.)
- While using any form of birth control such as Depo Provera injections.
Can I Get Pregnant After Oral or Anal Sex?
No, you cannot get pregnant from having oral sex with no direct genital-to-genital contact.
Also, you cannot get pregnant after using an item (such as a towel) that a man has used. Sperm dies very quickly when not in a warm, moist environment.
How Long Can Sperm Live After Sex?
Sperm can live for 5-7 days inside the vagina and fallopian tubes, where conception takes place. This means that if a woman has intercourse towards the very end of her last period (day 7 of her cycle) and then ovulates between days 12-14, she could get pregnant.
Effectiveness Rates of Birth Control
Birth control pills
Birth control implant
Birth control patch
Depo Provera birth control shot
Birth control sponge
Withdrawl (pull out method)
When Can I Take the "Morning After" Emergency Contraception Pill?
There is a special morning after pill (also known as the "Plan B" pill) that you can take up to five days after having sex, though it is most effective within the first 72 hours. The sooner you use it, the more chance that you won't have an unwanted pregnancy.
"There are no medical contraindications for Plan B use the way there may be for other hormonal birth control options," says Dr. Prince. "That means even if a woman has a medical condition which would increase her risk for adverse effects if a hormonal birth control option is used long-term, the same does not hold true for Plan B as it is a one-time use versus long-term use."
The pill works by causing an early abortion if you are pregnant. It is usually more expensive than birth control tablets that are taken before sex.
When Am I Most Fertile?
- A woman is most fertile 7-14 days after her period ends. This is called ovulation.
- A woman is least fertile just before her period begins.
- Every woman ovulates at different times and has a different length cycle. This means that even if you have sex when you are least fertile, chances are you may still fall pregnant.
How Can I Avoid Getting Pregnant Without Using a Condom?
Fertility awareness is a birth control method. It is also called the rhythm method. This method involves very carefully tracking your cycle so that you know exactly when you are fertile. If you do not use birth control and don't want to get pregnant, then you should avoid intercourse during that fertile period.
"This method requires precise knowledge of the actual day of ovulation," says Dr. Prince. "Since this day can vary month to month, a woman needs to recognize other signs of ovulation such as a change in the cervical mucus and rise in body temperature for the rhythm method to be effective."
There are different ways to track your cycle and identify your fertile period.
- Taking your temperature every morning before you get out of bed. A woman's body temperature rises when she ovulates.
- Checking cervical mucus. The discharge that comes out of your vagina changes during your cycle. Right before and during ovulation, there is usually more discharge and it is more slippery.
- Tracking your period on a calendar, including the number of days for each period, when they start and when they end. After keeping track for six months, you can identify your fertile period by selecting the shortest of the six cycles you have recorded. Subtract 18 from its total number of days. Now count that number ahead for your current cycle and mark that day with an X. That is your first fertile day.
How to Know for Sure Whether You Are Pregnant
There is only one way to conclusively tell if you are pregnant. That is to take a pregnancy test (or have your doctor perform a pregnancy test.)
Most pregnancy tests can be taken by two weeks after having sexual intercourse.
Pregnancy tests work by monitoring the HCG in your body. This is a pregnancy hormone that is only present when you are pregnant. For this reason, if you tested positive, it's fairly certain you are pregnant. If you tested negative, you may still be pregnant if you tested too early or at the wrong time of day, because the concentration of HCG increases slowly as the pregnancy develops.
Most tests work in such a way that either one or two lines or dots should appear. The first line is a control to make sure the test is working and the second line or dot indicates pregnancy.
If you are testing early it's advisable to take the test first thing in the morning when levels of HCG in the urine are more concentrated. You can take the test at any time of day but in early pregnancy, this may result in a false negative.
Symptoms of Pregnancy
If you think you may be pregnant, you may soon be experiencing some pregnancy symptoms. However, most pregnancy symptoms don't start until between 3-9 weeks after you fall pregnant. Some women never experience symptoms at all.
Symptoms can include:
- A missed period.
- Light spotting.
- Swollen, veiny, or tender breasts.
- A metallic taste in the mouth.
- Weight gain.
- Extreme tiredness.
- Changes in appetite.
- Craving or aversion to food.
- Stuffy nose.
Remember though: Nearly all these symptoms can also be linked to your menstrual cycle.
Can I Still Get an STD if We Used a Condom?
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. There is no guaranteed way to prevent STDs during sexual activity.
For example, condom use may not protect against Herpes infection for several reasons. One is that herpetic lesions may not just be on the penis, which is the only part of the genitalia that the condom covers. Lesions may be anywhere on the male or female genitalia and skin. Once skin-to-skin contact is made, transmission of herpes is possible.
Also, a person does not need to have lesions in order to spread herpes. This is called "asymptomatic shedding." Since most people are unaware that they have herpes as they have not had any symptoms such as lesions, pain, or burning, asymptomatic shedding is the most common way herpetic transmission occurs.
Condoms also do not also prevent HIV. This is because most people don’t use condoms during oral sex, so HIV can still be transmitted that way.
Other STDs are a cause for concern. For example, hepatitis B can cause liver disease and HPV can lead to certain types of cancer.
Chlamydia, however, is very common and easy to treat. The same is true for gonorrhea.
Why You Should Take a Pregnancy Test
If you decide that not getting a pregnancy test will make the problem go away, think again.
- If you are pregnant, the further you are along the higher the chance that untreated complications (such as miscarriage or pregnancy-related symptoms) could put your health at risk.
- If you are pregnant and wish to carry it to term, you need to begin taking pregnancy vitamins and eating correctly. Otherwise, the baby has a higher chance of a disability such as spina bifida.
- If you've contracted an STD or STI (sexually transmitted infection) from the unprotected sex, chances are that you need treatment. Not getting treated could harm the baby and you.
What to Do About an Unwanted Pregnancy
You need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will confirm the pregnancy results and offer advice about options.
If a doctor isn't the best option for you, talk to a trusted friend. Support and information are available to help you decide your next steps.
- Effectiveness of Birth Control Methods, Planned Parenthood, Retrieved April 3, 2018.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
Question: I just had sex for the very first time with someone who didn't use a condom, and we did it for a while. Is it possible to get pregnant on the first time of having sex?
Answer: Yes, it is possible to get pregnant the first time you engage in sexual intercourse. There's a dangerous myth that virgins can't fall pregnant, but this is untrue. If you have periods and are fertile, then it's possible to fall pregnant.
Question: I had unprotected sex for three weeks but I got my period the next week. Does that mean I'm not pregnant?
Answer: Yes, in nearly all cases, the fact you've got a normal period will indicate that you're not pregnant. However, if the bleeding is unlike a normal period (lighter or heavier, longer or shorter) it may be something else, such as implantation bleeding or an early miscarriage. There is also a small percentage of women who experience something called decidual bleeding which is caused by fluctuating hormones and can appear to be similar to a period.
But in answer to the original question, if you have a period that appears completely on schedule and average for your body, it's quite likely that you are not pregnant.
Question: We just had sex. Can I take pills right away to avoid being pregnant?
Answer: You can take the Plan B pill to avoid pregnancy. This can be purchased from your local pharmacy in most locations. It's more effective the sooner you take it after intercourse, but like all birth control, it's not 100%.
If you're referring to taking regular birth control pills, they will only work if you've been taking them correct and regularly up till this point. Taking them after sex without following the directions won't prevent pregnancy.
Question: I had unprotected sex for a month straight, but I didn't get pregnant. Why didn't I get pregnant?
Answer: A woman ovulates only once per month and is generally only fertile for five to six days per month. Each month, the average woman only has a 20% chance of falling pregnant. It can take several months to fall pregnant. If you can't get pregnant after more than 12 months of trying, you should see a medical professional.
Question: Can you get your period when you are three weeks pregnant?
Answer: No, you cannot get your period when you are three weeks pregnant. However, you can have bleeding that has the appearance of a period, known as decidual bleeding. This is usually caused by fluctuating hormone levels and is the reason some women believe they are not pregnant due to experiencing 'periods' throughout their pregnancy.
Smaller amounts of bleeding can also be caused by implantation bleeding, from either the fetus implanting (most likely) or the placenta implanting (usually eight to fourteen weeks).
Random on August 02, 2020:
I am 44 and had 2times unprotected sex in the gap of 3weeks 1st one when having intercourse and he ejaculated and In that moment itself I got my period and I went cleaned etc.
2nd time was after 2weeks, it was multiple times but he did not come even once. I had white discharge (cheese like).
Could I get pregnant?
anonymous on June 04, 2020:
my last period was on the 17th last month and had sex on the 19th same month. ...tested negative are they accurate?
Helen on April 04, 2020:
Ok please don't judge
I have sex with two men in the month of conception
But i had sex without a condom with one
And the other I used protection
Who could the father be
Anonymous on November 03, 2019:
So I’ve been having sex with my boyfriend for the past 5 days and he’s came in me every single time . We didn’t use protection. I have an irregular period as it is so I hardly get my period. So how do I know if I’m pregnant or the chances of me being pregnant . I’m 17 .
Kayla on July 10, 2019:
I’m so scared I’m pregnant I lost my virginity on July 1 and my breast got bigger 2 days later today is July 10 I’m spotting and I’m scared I don’t know what to do I’m 15 I’m so scared please help my stomach hurts so bad I’m spotting a little can I be pregnant please help
MEURIL on March 31, 2019:
We had sex with my partner for second time but we didn't use pills,tampons,and condoms.Because what he is doing,he will remove his penis from my own that's why the sperm cell couldn't stay inside.So my question,Can't I get pregnant if he will do like this?
linditar on February 17, 2019:
I finished my last periods on 27th of january ,since than I had unproteced sex till 7 february
are my chance to be pregnant?
Please let me know what to do
kh on February 09, 2019:
we had unprotected sex on the 14th day of the pill and I didn't finish the pack. what are my chances of being pregnant??
Palesa on January 28, 2019:
Hy Susana I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend on 19th of Jan and was having my periods I started, my period on 16th of Jan den after hvn sex it stopped on 20th of January and we tried again having sex on 20th of jan again and we start having sex on 26th on Jan and 28th of jan want to know if I can fall pregnant
Ster on January 18, 2019:
So in December 8-9 and 10 I had sex with my boyfriend I was virgin the 3 times we didn't use condom but there were some orgasm and he used the pull out method. I got my period but i usually last 7 to 8 days and i just last 3 days then two days passed and i bleed while i was peeing. Now i have been feeling tired and dizzy for like 6 week I also have been experience headache and going to pee a lot also my belly has grow a little but I don't want to tell no body yet Am i pregnant?
Belle on November 15, 2018:
I had sex on the 18th of October this year and again on the 25th of the same month and ovulated on the 23rd of October.. I had this light bleeding which was brown in color and changed to pink as time went on for 5 days which was two days my period was due. Now, I can’t tell if I had my menses or I spotted or I could be pregnant. I tested for pregnancy too and had a negative result.. I need help please
Laiba on October 18, 2018:
I had non penetrative sex three months ago.im still a virgin.i got my next two periods on date.but that month periods are three day late.am i pregnant?
Chloe on October 15, 2018:
I lost my virginity about a month ago. He didn't use a condom but it was only for a few seconds...can i still get pregnant?
prince on October 11, 2018:
I heard sex with my girlfriend and she 16years old but before that she said she has already had sex before and they was no blood. and a few year ago she heard sex with me too for 1month continually without condom and she said she's feel pains but she has not seen her blood too does it means she will be pragenant
Zoe Kohli on September 30, 2018:
I had unprotected sex and after 19 days i got my normal period. I didn't have sex in between. But i got a little vaginal clot 9 days after my normal period. What does that mean?
aurora on September 13, 2018:
jUst had sex with my boyfriend without condom but he used the pull out method I think all was good but I am scared that sperm might enter what are the chances
Please help on August 21, 2018:
Hi I just had “sex” with my boyfriend but I do t think his thing went all the way in side of me even tho it hurried VERY MUCH but afterwards I did see any blood I thought you supposed too bleed? Is there any thing I should be worried about?
Keylo on August 10, 2018:
I am 50yrs still going for my periods I had unprotected sex which pills can i use to clean the spems I dnt want pregnancy
Joanne on August 07, 2018:
thanks. I love your good work. this site has helped me alot .keep up.
dipankar on July 09, 2018:
I had sex with my girlfriend after period 2 day later .can she get pregnant?
Tk on July 02, 2018:
I had unprotected sex and after 2days I use pills and u don't want to be pregnant is there a chance of me not getting pregnant
ETORO on June 27, 2018:
Hello I had sex with my girlfriend 5 days ago without releasing sperm,does it mean that she's pregnant
Wandering on June 24, 2018:
I had a unprotected sex today and I am fertile.,what should I do now to prevent pregnancy ?as emergency pills are banned here.
Whitney on June 16, 2018:
I heard sex with my boyfriend one day ago, but we have used a condom.
Is it likely for me to be pregnant?
Answer me pliss on June 14, 2018:
So i am a 18 year old girl that just had sex with my partner but i been late on my period and today he came inside of me so cant i come out pregnunt and innhow many days i could fine out i am???
Janine on June 13, 2018:
Hi I had un protecting sex one day after my period and I am on nothing is it possible for me to be pregnant
jordan on June 12, 2018:
I had sex 21 times wit my GF I'm I'm 16 she is almost 17 it was unprotected do u think she is pregnant
Jordan brandon on June 10, 2018:
Me and my GF had sex 11 maybe 12 times we been dating 8 almost 9. Months we had sex that's many times in the past month it was unprotected idk know if she is pregnant she has been complaining about not feeling good and sinuses what are the chances she is pregnant
Ajene on June 05, 2018:
Bianca on May 21, 2018:
I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend and I'm fertile that time . But he did not spill his juice inside me but there's some changes in my body I'm gaining weight and I'm become a sleepy and I'm a month delay. Is it possible to me to get pregnant?
JOANNE on May 15, 2018:
Hi I was just wondering about some of these stories! Aly, who was the father??????????
Sharon on May 11, 2018:
I had sex without a condo for e first time after a week l went to period for 5days... we tryed again e falling morth but still I went to period .... I may pegntant or not
Graceey on April 13, 2018:
I am 13 and a few weeks ago I had unprotected sex and I’ve had a stuffy nose and been eating more by not being hungry and I have 1 other symptom that could just be growing but I’m scared I’m pregnant since he has pulled out the second before he starts we’ve done it many times and only one with a condom, do you think I’m pregnant?
Grace on April 13, 2018:
hey so I’m 13 and my boyfriend and I had unprotected sex a few weeks ago and I’ve started eating more and 1 other symptom but I’m scared I’m pregnant and I can’t talk to my mom about it or she would kill me and I’m not able to get a test should I be scared I’m pregnant
Jessica27272 on April 11, 2018:
Not sure if i could be pregnant or not due to the fact i was on antibiotics the shot and i also been prescribed the pills as well which i didn’t take the all up had unprotected even when it was time to get my cycle, i throwed up which wasn’t like me and it was time for me to start my new Pack so i slipped that whole first row had unprotected sex again went to the bathroom and seen something pink now i don’t know what to think or what to do
Kiah on April 10, 2018:
I have unprotected sex with my boyfriend and. I'm experiencing early symptoms of pregnancy but we had sex just 4 days ago. Am I pregnant?
Victoria on April 08, 2018:
Hi im 16 snd my boyfriend is 15 is is easy for me to get pregnant
Melissa Judith on March 20, 2018:
Hey I have a question. So me and my boyfriend recently had sex over the weekend and we used a condom and he came then the moment we stopped I realised the condom broke so does that mean I'll most likely fall pregnant? And I was also ovulating at the time.
Goreth on March 18, 2018:
Ooooh my GUSH I'm scared
Aly on February 11, 2018:
Hi susannah i would like to ask you a question! I have been having unprotected sex with my boy friend all the times,my period was on june 10 2017 i had unprotected sex with my boyfriend! On 28 june 2017 i had protected sex with someone else! Who could be the father of the childe since my doctor told me my due date is 29 march 2018!!