Precum or pre-ejaculation is a colorless fluid that comes out from the penis during sexual intercourse. It is produced by the Cowper’s glands, which are situated adjacent to the urethra below the prostate gland.
The pre-ejaculatory fluid is secreted before ejaculation and it acts as a lubricant making it easy for sperm to pass through the urethra. Aside from that, this fluid neutralizes the acidity of the urine in the urethra that can harm the sperm.
Pre-ejaculatory fluid neutralizes acidity in the urethra caused by urine, creating a more favorable alkaline environment for the passage of sperm. It also neutralizes the acidity in the vagina and lubricates the tip of the penis during intercourse.
Studies have also shown that the Cowper’s glands protect the genitourinary tract by releasing glycoproteins.
These are proteins that help the reproductive system, the immune system, and the digestive system fight off antigens.
While it is uncommon to get pregnant from precum if you are ovulating it is possible. However, this depends on whether your partner’s precum contains sperm. Studies show that some men produce precum that contains sperm, while others do not.
According to the 2010 research, 37% of men pre-ejaculatory fluid samples contain a reasonable proportion of motile sperm.
Normally, sperm stays in the female reproductive tract for 5 days. If within this period, you start ovulating and you are having intercourse regularly, chances of getting pregnant are high.
So even if your partner withdraws before he ejaculates, there is no way he can tell he is leaking precum and neither is he able to control it. If his pre-ejaculation fluid contains active spermatozoon (mature male germ cell), and it can go to your fallopian tubes, you are likely to conceive if you are ovulating.
Keep in mind that a man starts to secret precum the moment he gets an erection. This means that the fluid is present during sexual intercourse. So, it is possible to get pregnant from precum during ovulation.
It is also important to know that you can get sexually transmitted illnesses through precum. So to avoid unwanted or unplanned pregnancies and getting STI’s, it is recommended that you use condoms.
You can get pregnant from precum even when you are not ovulating. How?
Sperm stays in a woman’s reproductive tract for 5 to 7 days. So if it remains there before ovulation, there are chances that it may still be alive when you start ovulating.
You may choose to use ovulation tests to track your ovulation for the sake of preventing an intended pregnancy. But this method may not be very effective at preventing a pregnancy.
Ovulation tests measure the levels of a hormone called the luteinizing hormone or LH. When the LH levels are high, they trigger ovulation. So when you perform an ovulation test, it can only detect the LH surge 1 to 2 days before ovulation. Unfortunately, a sperm can remain active in the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days.
If you have sexual intercourse before you find out about the LH surge, your chances of getting pregnant are high.
Emergency contraception also referred to as morning-after contraception or post-coital contraception is a birth control option that helps prevent unintended pregnancies.
Women use it after having unprotected sex or when a birth control method they had used failed. This is not a regular birth control method and it is specifically meant to be used in case of emergencies like when you have unprotected sex, get raped, or when the condom breaks during intercourse. You can also use it if you have missed taking your birth control pills during your monthly cycle.
Emergency contraception cannot protect you against sexually transmitted illnesses like HIV, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. It is also not a medication that can be used for abortion.
There are two main types of emergency contraception:
- Emergency contraceptive pills (morning after pills)
- Intrauterine device (IUD).
The morning-after pill is the most commonly used emergency contraception pills (ECPs) and according to studies, it reduces your risk of getting pregnant by 95%.
There are three main types of morning-after pills:
- Pills that contain levonorgestrel (a progestin hormone that helps prevent pregnancies) such as Plan B One Step, Take Action, Next Choice, Preventeza, and My Way.
- Levonorgestrel methods are preferred over estrogen-progesterone regimens since levonorgestrel is more effective and has fewer side effects.
- Pills that are non-hormonal like Ella.
Emergency contraceptive pills do not work for everyone. Studies show that the effectiveness of levonorgestrel is low in women who are overweight or obese. It is also not effective if taken 5 days after having unprotected sex.
Pregnant women can use Levonorgestrel emergency pill, but not Ella as it can affect the development of the fetus.
If you have a chronic condition and you taking medication for it, make sure to talk to your doctor first before taking any emergency contraception pills.
Emergency IUD contraception
The most commonly used and most effective emergency IUD contraception is the copper IUD also known as the coil.
Unlike pills which are taken orally, the copper IUD is inserted in the uterus. Should be inserted in the uterine cavity within 120 hours (or 5 days) of unprotected intercourse as a form of emergency contraception.
The IUD functions primarily by eliciting a sterile inflammatory response within the uterus, making the environment unsuitable for fertilization.
The copper IUD can last for more than 5 years and according to research, it is the most effective emergency contraception. It is also the only emergency contraception method that can last for years once inserted.
Any woman regardless of age can use a copper IUD to prevent unintended pregnancies. However, women with certain conditions cannot use a copper IUD.
These conditions include:
- Known or suspected pregnancy
- Undiagnosed abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Cervical cancer
- Current breast cancer (for Mirena only)
- Pelvic tuberculosis
- Copper allergy or Wilson disease (for ParaGard only)
- Uterine abnormalities
- Acute cervical, uterine, or salpingeal infection
- Prior ectopic pregnancy
- History of STIs in the past 3 months
- Uterine anomaly or fibroid distorting the cavity.
Copper IUD contraception is a reversible contraception method. So, once it is removed, your fertility should return within a short time.
Copper IUD for birth control is only available through prescription. This is because it requires an experienced medical practitioner to insert it into the uterus. Once the coil has been inserted in the uterus, you may experience some pain or discomfort, but it subsides within a short time.
Serious side-effects associated with copper IUD use include heavy menstrual bleeding and chronic pain. If these side-effects worsen, your doctor may suggest removing the coil.
Even though you are on birth control, although rare, it is still possible to get pregnant. Another thing is that certain birth control methods alter your menstrual cycle. So, when you can miss a period, it may not be an indication that you are pregnant. It could be because of the birth control method you are using.
Nevertheless, if you are on birth control and you miss a period, make sure to take a pregnancy test to eliminate pregnancy as the cause.
Bear in mind that there are other reasons that can delay your periods such as a change in diet, illness, stress, and too much physical activity. These factors especially stress can cause late ovulation causing your period to come late.
But if you have missed your period and you are experiencing these signs and symptoms, see a doctor or take a pregnancy test.
Abdominal cramps – pregnancy can cause cramps that are similar to menstrual cramps, so it is easy to assume that your periods are close to coming only that they don’t come.
Tender breasts – breast tenderness is actually a sign your periods are about to come. However, it is also a sign of pregnancy.
If you are on birth control and you miss your period, it may not be necessary to see a doctor. But it may be necessary for you to take a pregnancy test.
But if you are experiencing negative pregnancy tests and symptoms similar to those associated with pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider. You could be experiencing an ectopic pregnancy which can be life-threatening. Signs and symptoms associated with an ectopic pregnancy include severe abdominal pain, dizziness, and spotting.
By talking to your health care provider, they can perform the necessary tests to confirm whether it is an ectopic pregnancy or something else.
In short, it is possible to get pregnant from precum while ovulating. The only solution to prevent unintended pregnancies is by using condoms or other forms of contraception.