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Pregnancy & Contraception Q&A

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Can you get pregnant when you have sex for the first time?
YES!  You most certainly can become pregnant the first time you engage in unprotected vaginal intercourse.  If a female is ovulating and an egg is present, there is high risk of becoming pregnant with unprotected vaginal penetration, even if the male does not ejaculate.

Does it work to just pull out?
Using the withdrawal method, or "pulling out", is very risky.  Sperm is present in pre-ejaculatory fluids and could cause a pregnancy if an egg is present in the female's ovum.

Can I get pregnant from oral sex or anal sex?
No, there is no risk of pregnancy from oral or anal sex.  There are other risks associated with these unprotected behaviors, like increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted disease and HIV.

Should I use two condoms to be extra safe?
No, you should NEVER use two condoms at one time.  The friction caused when two condoms rub against one another reduces their effectiveness and increases the chance of breaking.  Condoms are very safe and effective if used consistently and correctly every time you engage in any penetrative sex.
 
I heard that condoms break all the time…is that true?
No, condoms do not break all the time.  Condoms have a 98% effective rate when used properly.  This means they must be stored properly.  Do not expose latex condoms to extreme temperatures.  Condoms can melt in high heat and crack in cold weather.  All condom packages come with instructions.  If you are unsure how to properly use them, read those instructions. 

Are thinner condoms more likely to break?
Thinner condoms WILL NOT break any more than a regular one.  The FDA regulates all condoms sold in the United States.  They are responsible for setting the guidelines for the thickness of condoms and testing them.  Other countries do not follow the same guidelines for the manufacturing and sales of condoms.  When traveling abroad, plan ahead and pack your own purchased in the US.  Check out Durex Extra Sensitive, a thin condom that was rated number 1 in a Consumer Reports test.

Do spermicidal condoms work better?
Spermicidal condoms do not 'work" any better than non-spermicidal condoms.  Spermicide is a harsh detergent used in lubricants that kill sperm.  The detergent however, causes irritations in the mucus membrane of the vaginal canal, thus increasing the risk of infection from bacteria and viruses.  Most condom companies today do not offer a spermicidal condom and all lubrication companies stopped adding the ingredient to their products.

Can I use a condom more than once?
No, all condoms including the Reality Female Condom, are to be used only once.

I don't like condoms. What else can I use?
For pregnancy prevention with male to female sex, you have hormonal options, surgical procedures and behavior modification.  All hormonal and surgical options must be attended by a doctor and a medical examination is required.  For a complete list, visit our Birth Control Options chart.  Additionally, a woman can protect herself with the Reality Female Condom if her male partner is opposed to condoms.

Do we need to also wear condoms if she's on the pill?
If used correctly (taking the pill at the same time everyday, never missing) the pill is 99.9% effective in the prevention of pregnancy.  The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, HPV, or HIV.  You have to weigh your risk regarding behaviors with your partner regarding the use of a condom and the pill.  Do you know/trust that your partner is taking the pill at the same time everyday?  Is your partner being monogamous? Be sure, be safe.
 
Should I trust women who say they are on the pill?
I can't answer that.  I recommend that you know and trust a sexual partner before using the pill as your only birth control method.  Remember the pill doesn't protect against sexually transmitted diseases, HPV, or HIV.  Best risk reduction; get tested together before deciding not to use a condom.

Is taking hormones dangerous?
The pill, the first FDA approved hormonal method of birth control, has been in use since 1960.  The method is proven safe for many, but side effects can occur in some women.  Those that smoke, especially those over age 35 and smoke, are not supposed to use hormonal birth control methods.  Women that are required to take other medications, including natural herbs, need to check with their doctors for any interactions that could render the hormones useless.  For specific questions, consult with your doctor.

Can I still get pregnant if I've been on the pill for years?
Yes.  The pill and other hormonal birth control methods work on a time release program.  Regardless of the amount of time you've been on a method, if that time release program is interrupted in any way, there could be a chance for pregnancy.  Some medications also cause interruptions, so always communicate with your doctor as to what medicines you are taking, including vitamins and supplements. 

Are there any other birth control methods for men other than condoms?
Yes, surgery.  Men can get a vasectomy to prevent pregnancy.  Vasectomies used to be a permanent preventative, but recently, some can be reversed. 

Is taking the EC pill abortion?
Each individual, men included, has to decide what is right for them regarding EC.  EC pills release hormones, which prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation or fertilization. EC will not cause an abortion or affect an existing pregnancy. For more information about EC, visit our Emergency Contraception chart.

Does the morning after pill have any long term side effects?
The morning after pill, or EC, has no known long term side effects but should not be used as a regular method of birth control.  EC should be used in EMERGENCY situations only.  You and your partner will have to decide what "emergency" means for you.

Is spermicide safe to use on its own?
Spermicides used on their own, with no other form of barrier method, are not very effective in preventing pregnancy. Spermicides are recommended to use in conjunction with diaphragms and cervical caps.  Some men and women experience burning, swelling and/or bleeding on the genitals when using spermicides.  This is caused by the drying nature of the product, since spermicides are detergents.  If this occurs, discontinue use of the product.

Can I use my friend's diaphragm or cap?
Diaphragms and cervical caps are fitted for each woman and are fitted by a doctor.  Friends should never share their diaphragms or cervical caps.

I heard the sponge is no longer available. Is it back on the market?
The sponge was recently re-approved for sale as a barrier method for birth control.  The sponge is not a good choice for those needing protection from sexually transmitted diseases, HPV, or HIV because skin to skin contact is still present.

Can a man still cum if he has had a vasectomy?
Yes, after a vasectomy, men do experience a normal orgasm with fluids. Cum, or ejaculatory fluid, is made up of sperm, sugars, and water from the testicles, seminal vesicles, the prostate and the bulbourethral glands.  A vasectomy "cuts off" the sperm from the vas deferens prohibiting sperm from mixing with the other parts that make up ejaculate.

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