Can I get pregnant from precum?

Depending on how good your sex education was, a thought that may have crossed your mind was whether you can get pregnant from pre-cum. You have been taught to put a condom on a banana (or cucumber), what methods of contraception there are or what happens when we menstruate but getting pregnant from pre-cum? Not likely (although, you may have just been told to avoid using the pull-out method).

If you’ve considered using the pull-out – or withdrawal method – as a form of contraception, then you might also want to think about the possibility of pre-cum entering the vagina. Here, The Lowdown answers the much confused question of whether you can get pregnant from precum (premature cum) and how effective the use of the pull-out method is.

What is precum and can you get pregnant from it?

Now, precum, or pre-ejaculation, is fluid that is discharged from a penis when it is aroused and usually occurs right before ejaculation. The fluid can act as a natural lubricant during sex.

To quickly answer the question you’ve all been waiting for – can precum cause pregnancy? – the likelihood is very slim (touch wood, pun not intended).

Precum does not only occur in the moments just before orgasm. Some males might produce more precum than others and at different times during penetrative sex.

Does precum have sperm cells?

Many people also believe – and are told – that precum does not contain any sperm. They are right but, before you get too excited, sperm has the potential to leak into precum before it makes its way into the vagina, the cheeky bugger. Semen can linger in the urethra after ejaculation and mix with pre-cum while on its way out.

In a 2016 study conducted from the National Library of Medicine, 17% of sperm was found in precum. Then in another study published in 2011, mobile sperm was found in 37% pre cum samples given by 27 men.

Can I get pregnant even if I’m not ovulating?

Again, yes. Although pregnancy is most likely to occur during ovulation (of which you can track yourself or using cycle apps such as Clue), sperm can live inside your body for as long as five days. If it’s around the area (formally said, your reproductive tract) at ovulation, those guys might be able to fertilise an egg.

How does the pull-out method work with pre cum?

The penis must be all the way out of the vagina before ejaculation and then try and ensure you ejaculate away from the vagina or vulva. As a male, make sure you understand your body’s response to sex, to work out when ejaculation might occur, so you withdraw in enough time.

According to Healthline, peeing before you have sex might help flush out any leftover semen and could reduce the chance that sperm will appear in it.

Pros and cons of the withdrawal method:

The Lowdown recorded that the clinical effectiveness of the withdrawal method stands at 76%. “That’s quite high”, I hear you say, but is it really? When most other forms of contraception tend to be at a solid 99%, the risk that precum could get you pregnant is substantially higher. However, the contraceptive that is rated the lowest in terms of effectiveness is the cap or diaphragm at 71%. 

Ultimately, using the pull-out method is for you to decide, but here are some pros and cons to help you make the decision.

Pros of the pull-out method:

  • It’s free
  • It does not contain any hormones. Some women prefer using contraception that does not contain hormones as they could have a negative impact on their body – of course, some females find that hormonal contraception is actually better for them
  • It has no side effects
  • By pulling out, other forms of birth control you may be using will be even more effective

Cons of the pull-out method:

  • It does not protect you from STIs (sexually transmitted diseases)
  • The number one reason why the withdrawal method fails is because the penis is not pulled out soon enough – many couples plan to pull out, but sometimes can forget in the heat of the moment
  • Males who experience premature ejaculation may struggle to get the timings right – they might not be able to tell when they are about to cum and are therefore at a higher risk of pregnancy
  • It’s not as effective as other methods of contraception

What did The Lowdown reviewers have to say?

We received several reviews everyday from people sharing their experiences with all forms of contraception. Here’s what you had to say:

“I have three planned children and have used the pull-out method since the birth of my first child 16 years ago. I get pregnant very easily, with each child of mine being conceived when my partner and I decided we wanted to try. It works well for us. But I do want to say that it’s really up to how good the man is in pulling out and timing. This may not be for everyone because of that.

“It’s not the best”

“The withdrawal method is great because it’s skin to skin and no hormones. But there’s always a higher change you might get pregnant with this method of contraception.”

“Used this method of contraception prior to using the Natural Cycles app to plan a pregnancy. It was highly effective and [a] chosen method of contraception due to worries about side effects of combined pill. Sex drive increased dramatically, and mood became much more stable. Have returned to this method since having first child.”

“Although it is frowned upon, it allows for an enjoyable experience in and out of the vagina. If you are sensible and your partner knows when he will cum and how to control himself, then it is a feasible method. We don’t use this method all the time though.”

“I have been with my partner for over eight years, my partner doesn’t produce any precum so we use the pull out method and have never had any pregnancy scares. We used to occasionally use condoms in the beginning but we had two instances of the condom breaking so don’t use them anymore.”

If you are thinking of using the withdrawal method as a form of contraception, then do talk to a nurse of sexual health specialist. We advise that before going on any form of contraception, it is wise to speak to a doctor. The Lowdown offers chats with a professional through the website.

This guide was brought to you by The Lowdown. We are the world’s first contraception review platform, providing real-life experiences from thousands of reviews collected from our community of men and women.

Why not leave us a review of your contraceptive experience? Whether you’ve got good things to say about the Mirena coil or had trouble with implant removal, we want to hear about it! Tell us about your experience and help people around the world find the right method for them.