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In recent years, the focus has shifted to STDs, but I would say that you'd have a difficult time tracking down a teenage girl who does not know how to prevent a pregnancy.

Girls and women have access to a wealth of information when it comes to their sexual health, their bodies in general, and how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. In recent years, the focus has shifted to STDs, but I would say that you'd have a difficult time tracking down a teenage girl who does not know how to prevent a pregnancy.

Always use a condom, because you can get pregnant from precum, is probably one of the first things a well-informed young woman would tell you.

But is that really the case? Is it possible to get pregnant from precum?

I totally agree that awareness of sexual health is very important, and I even agree with the always use a condom motto. But primarily because condoms offer the best protection from diseases that are spread sexually, and not because the pull-out method can get you pregnant .

What is precum?

Before a man ejaculates, his body will sometimes release small quantities of seminal fluids. These are expelled from the body in preparation for the final ejaculation, and do not usually contain any viable sperm. But it does happen, on occasion, very rarely, and aparently women do get pregnant from precum sometimes. Anyone who is charting to conceive, or charting to avoid, knows that natural family planning is, in fact, a method that is very effective. Just like you can get pregnant more easily and more quickly by having sex just before and during your ovulation, you can also rather reliably avoid getting pregnant by not doing so. Many couples abstain from intercourse altogether during a woman s fertile period when they are charting to avoid. But lots of others successfully use the pull-out method for many years. During all that time, the male partner must have released seminal fluid before pulling out, from time to time.

Is it possible to get pregnant from precum?

Yes, theoretically. But your chances are very slim. As a contraceptive method, when practiced correctly, the pull-out method is no less effective than the pill, which indicates that getting pregnant from precum is a difficult challenge indeed.

For those who want to avoid a pregnancy, I argue that precum poses an extremely minor risk, and that withdrawing before ejaculation is a valid contraceptive method, in combination with fertility charting.

For women who do want to get pregnant, relying on precum is hardly a strategy that is bound to lead to success. The chances of pregnancy are highest when a couple does the deed during the woman s most fertile days, in the missionary position, with the male ejaculating into the woman. Anything else simply does not make sense.

Having said all of this, I have a sneaking suspicion that the women who are most interested in the answer to this question are those who want to get pregnant, but whose partner does not agree (yet). If you happen to have a partner who is willing to have unprotected intercourse, only to pull out at the end, and you are silently hoping to conceive a baby that way, the odds are not stacked in your favor.