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Could I have gotten pregnant if ...

  1. Sperm touched me but my boyfriend did not penetrate?
  2. I was having my period when I had sex?
  3. I had passed my ovulation date when I had sex?
  4. I was still breastfeeding?
  5. I had delivered a child just three months ago?
  6. I had just miscarried?
  7. I had a Depo Provera shot?

Sperm touched me but my boyfriend did not penetrate?

Sperm dries when exposed to air and cannot survive for longer than a few hours. It is possible, but highly unlikely, that sperm that touched you could then be pushed into the vagina. Once sperm enters the vagina, it may remain active for approximately 24-48 hours.

I was having my period when I had sex?

It is possible but very unlikely. The flow of blood and tissue during the menstrual flow would make it difficult for sperm to travel and even harder for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. It is very unlikely to become pregnant when having sex during your menstrual period. Pregnancy can only occur when live sperm are present in a woman at ovulation. Ovulation typically occurs 12-15 days after the first day of a menstrual cycle. A woman has her period after the egg from the previous menstrual cycle is unfertilized. There is usually no egg that is ready to be fertilized at this point so pregnancy is unlikely.

I had passed my ovulation date when I had sex?

You can become pregnant after your predicted ovulation day for several reasons. The main reason is that ovulation is not a predictable event for many women.

I was still breastfeeding?

It depends on the frequency of breastfeeding and interval from delivery. It has been argued that regular breastfeeding without supplementation (including nighttime feeds) for a total of 65 minutes a day is needed for birth control protection. Your period must also have stopped. This appears to provide protection for up to 6 months. Once your period resumes or after 6 months, the risk of pregnancy increases.

I had delivered a child just three months ago?

The chances of getting pregnant are likely as good as they were with the previous pregnancy. The body undergoes significant changes during a pregnancy and it does take the body time to recover. The recovery time varies from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy.

I had just miscarried?

The ability to become pregnant after a miscarriage is the same as after having a baby. Once normal cycles resume, your chance of becoming pregnant is the same as before the pregnancy or miscarriage. If there are any difficulties in achieving pregnancy prior to the miscarriage, they will likely remain with subsequent attempts at pregnancy. For couples who have no problems with infertility there is approximately a 25% chance of becoming pregnant with each ovulatory cycle. Most women begin having normal ovulation three to six weeks after a miscarriage or pregnancy if breastfeeding is not involved. The only way that a previous miscarriage may complicate matters is if there were difficulties with the miscarriage such as intrauterine infection or excessive bleeding that required a surgical procedure. Even under these circumstances, once normal menstrual cycles begin the ability to become pregnant remains the same.

I had a Depo Provera shot?

Depo Provera is a long-acting contraceptive shot that provides pregnancy protection for 12 weeks. It is 99% effective which means 1% of women who use this method will still get pregnant. Many women are concerned that they stop having periods on the Depo Provera shot. This does not mean they are pregnant. It is a known side-effect of the medicine that has no apparent risk to the woman.

For more information:

Go to the Pregnancy health topic, where you can:

Last Reviewed: May 28, 2002

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