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Pregnancy

Myths & Truths About The Ways Pregnancy Can Occur

If penetration only happens for a few seconds, a woman can't get pregnant. (False)

Anytime the penis comes into direct contact with the vaginal area, there is the change of pregnancy. The chance may not be as high as if intercourse with ejaculation took place, but there is still a risk. The transmission of STDs can also happen through any type of skin to skin contact like this.

Pregnancy can occur if a woman and a guy have faux sex or dry sex. (True)

This is when there is no penetration, but there is skin to skin contact of the genital area. Again, anytime the penis and the vaginal area come into contact, there is the slight risk of pregnancy and a risk for STD transmission.

A woman can't get pregnant from pre-ejaculation. (False)

Pre-ejaculation (seminal fluid) is the liquid that seeps out of the penis before ejaculation occurs. Most guys have no control over it and cannot feel it coming out. This type of fluid does have sperm in it and can result in pregnancy. This is part of the reason why the withdrawal method of birth control is not as effective as other methods.

Pregnancy can occur if the woman does not have an orgasm. (True)

Pregnancy can occur even if a woman does not have an orgasm. An orgasm is not related to an egg being available for fertilization.

Women can easily become pregnant from sperm that has traveled through clothing or material. (False)

If the clothing was completely saturated with semen and was in direct contact with a woman's vagina, there is a very slight chance the sperm could enter the vagina, but this is highly unlikely. No conclusive studies have been found to give a definite answer on this possibility.

A woman can't get pregnant from having sex in water. (False)

If actual intercourse takes place in any type of water, pregnancy is definitely a possibility. This is because intercourse will allow the sperm to be directly deposited in the girl's vaginal area, and the water on the outside of the body would not interfere with this.

It is very likely that pregnancy will occur if ejaculation takes place in water. (False)

It is not likely that tiny sperm could travel through the vast area of water that would fill a pool, bath tub or hot tub to reach a girl's vagina and result in pregnancy. If ejaculation occurred in plain warm water, sperm could survive for a few minutes. If ejaculation occurs in very hot water, or water filled with pool chemicals, bubbles or other substances, sperm would not be able to survive for more than a few seconds. Pregnancy occurring from this is very unlikely and in most cases is not possible at all.

Pregnancy commonly occurs from having anal sex. (False)

Pregnancy cannot occur from the act of anal sex, but because the vaginal opening and the anus are very close together, there is the chance that sperm could leak into the vagina and travel to fertilize an egg.

Ejaculating numerous times lessens the chance of pregnancy occurring. (False)

The number of times ejaculation takes place does not affect the chance of pregnancy. Each ejaculation contains about 300 million sperm, and only one is needed to fertilize an egg.

Sperm dies once it reaches the air because oxygen kills sperm. (False)

This is a myth that many people believe in, but it is not true! Once sperm is DRY it is dead and cannot travel to fertilize an egg. Sperm can live for 3-5 days if it is in a warm, moist environment such as the cervix of a woman. Sperm cannot come back to life once it has dried, even if it is remoistened!

Before getting pregnant - What you should know

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This article is a NetWellness exclusive.

Last Reviewed: Feb 15, 2007

Arthur T Ollendorff, MD Arthur T Ollendorff, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati