Let’s start out by getting this out of the way, no one, in the whole wide world, can tell you whether you are or are not pregnant over the Internet. I can’t. A quiz can’t. Scrutinizing timing and symptoms can’t. Google can’t. The only way to confirm a pregnancy is in person via examination, urine, or blood testing. Regardless, I get a ton of comments here at Gremlins asking, “could I be pregnant?,” “what are the chances of getting pregnant from….” or “am I pregnant?” So, that leaves us at what can I tell you? I mean I’ve responded to 1,000+ comments on the subject, and I’ve had something to tell them all.
The quiz linked above uses the information on this page. It’s still recommended you read below to understand your results.
How do you know if you’re pregnant?
When I respond to comments asking am I pregnant this I what I consider, my steps to calculating your chances of getting pregnant or already being pregnant….
The first factor you want to consider is timing. When was:
-Your last period
-The date of intercourse
If you know, the date of ovulation is also quite useful. You can find a full guide to pinpointing ovulation here.
Understanding when you can get pregnant helps a great deal in figuring out your chances of pregnancy. It is possible to become pregnant from intercourse at any time if you happen to be ovulating or ovulate while semen is still viable, but the chances are significantly higher during your fertile period. When is that? For most women, ovulation lands around mid-cycle.
So, if your period is on average 28 days, ovulation is likely around the 14th day with day 1 being the first day of period bleeding. Note I said most. Not all women ovulate mid-cycle, and ovulation does fluctuate slightly each cycle for some. You can help guess when you are ovulating by paying attention to vaginal discharge. When you are fertile it will become more plentiful and watery. At ovulation itself, you may see egg-white-like discharge, sort of like clear snot (I know lovely imagery here.) There are also ovulation test strips you can buy if you are ttc, and basal body temping can also be a huge help.
Keep in mind that the egg is most viable in the first 12 hours, but may survive up to 48 hours, and sperm is most viable within 48 hours, but can survive in the body for 5 or more days (studies differ on the subject).
Let’s consider some scenarios with that then.
Early intercourse: Can you get pregnant on your period?
The chances of pregnancy are low with intercourse during your period, but not impossible—remember up there where I said if there is intercourse, pregnancy is always possible. How can you get pregnant on your period? Well, because sperm can survive beyond that ideal 48-hour window, if you ovulate on the early side, it could still be around to catch the egg. It’s a scenario where the stars really have to align just right so to speak.
Ex/ 26 day cycle, 6 days active bleeding, early ovulation at day 10 (I actually had these stats when I got pregnant with baby 4) Intercourse on CD (cycle day) 5 during period, sperm can still be viable at 5+ days when the egg drops.
This, obviously, also applies to the question can you get pregnant right after your period as well, more so actually, because you are closer to mid-cycle.
Late intercourse: Can you get pregnant right before your period?
The chances of getting pregnant just before your period are lower, because while sperm can hang on quite some time in the vaginal canal, the egg is a bit more delicate. Most studies put viability at about 12 to 24 hours before it’s long gone. In this case, that means to become pregnant just before your period, you would need to ovulate quite late.
Ex/ 26 day cycle, Ovulation CD 22, Intercourse on CD 23, egg survives CD 22-23.
It would be nigh impossible to catch the following cycle’s egg this way, if you are wondering. Why? Even if intercourse was on CD 26 just before the period began, with a low probability 5-day survival you would still be looking at CD 5 for ovulation, which is very, very early, and questionably biologically possible.
Both of the above situations have a low chance of pregnancy, so what has a high chance of pregnancy?
Mid-cycle Intercourse: The ideal time for pregnancy
The closer to mid-cycle the intercourse is, the higher the chance of pregnancy. In general, because ovulation does fluctuate, anything after about CD 9 and about a week before the end of your cycle can be considered a fertile period.
Ex/ 26 day cycle: fertile period from CD 9 to CD 19. Peak (ovulation) probable at CD 12-14
It should be kept in mind that the average couple tries for 6 months to conceive, and it’s estimated that in a healthy couple under the age of 35, there is only a 25 percent chance of pregnancy with a single sexual act during a fertile time. Sex mid-cycle does not guarantee pregnancy, it just poses the highest chances of getting pregnant all cycle.
Side note, what if you don’t get periods?
Just because you aren’t having a menstrual period doesn’t necessarily mean you also aren’t ovulating. It’s entirely possible you just have very long cycles. Most women who don’t get periods do have occasional bleeding. Lack of menstruation can mean you aren’t ovulating or it can mean you just aren’t doing so regularly. Either way, this is something you should speak with a care provider about as it is often indicative of an underlying condition and if you’re trying to conceive it can greatly reduce your chances of getting pregnant.
Next, let’s talk about symptoms.
I’m going to come right out and say I don’t consider them at all. They are irrelevant this early, but then, I do have a quiz on early symptoms of pregnancy here, so why the hypocrisy there? You will not have pregnancy symptoms before you are pregnant. Period. This falls back in to timing. After sperm meets egg, it takes 6-12 days for that fertilized egg to find its way to the uterus and implant, it takes another 48 hours on average for pregnancy hormones to get high enough to even start to be detectable—that’s 8 to 14 days after fertilization which could be up to 48 hours after ovulation. Until that egg implants, you aren’t pregnant. There are no pregnancy hormones, your symptoms aren’t pregnancy related. I have a pregnancy symptom quiz, yes, but with big warnings all over it that it applies after a missed period (which for most is about 14 days after ovulation).
You may now be thinking to yourself, puh, this lady don’t know Jack or his sister Sally’s ovaries, because I had pregnancy symptoms before my last pregnancy. The thing is one of the major players in all those fun pregnancy side effects is progesterone, and progesterone is actually present in the body before pregnancy. Its production is super-charged by ovulation, and its purpose is to maintain a pregnancy. So, if you don’t get pregnant, it drops, and you get a period, if you do, it continues to rise. A high progesterone cycle will mimic the symptoms of pregnancy from nausea to gas. Pregnancy symptoms are basically PMS on steroids.
Down to the details….
Next, I look at the specifics. Not everyone wants a baby. Sometimes people are commenting desperately hoping I’ll say, “Hah, fat chance. You aren’t pregnant.” There are some common situations that decrease fertility and reduce the chances of pregnancy even if it’s mid-cycle.
I was on birth control when we had sex, can I be pregnant?
No method of birth control outside of not having sex offers 100-percent protection. Most forms are pretty dependable if carried out properly, we’re talking in the 90ish percentile, but even if there was a condom or birth control, it is still possible to become pregnant, the chance is just very small.
What if the condom fell off, broke, or came off inside of me?
Condoms break, slip off, and though it may be embarrassing to admit sometimes even come off inside of women. In all of the above cases, it is possible sperm escaped and pregnancy could occur. Plan-B or the morning after pill are usually a good idea in this circumstance, as well, chances or pregnancy are a lot higher than if the condom had stayed on.
He pre-ejaculated without protection, can that cause pregnancy?
Yes. Precum (the liquid that sometimes precedes a true ejaculation) does sometimes contain sperm and can result in pregnancy. A man has no control over pre-ejaculation. This is why the pull-out method of birth control can fail and a condom should not just be used for ejaculation, but also during the entire sexual act if condoms are your primary source of birth control. The chances of pregnancy with precum alone are less than 4 percent (you can read an in-depth look at the chances of getting pregnant from precum here).
Can I get pregnant from masturbation with another, anal sex, or dry humping?
This comes down to two variables. In all three situations, what matters is if there was semen involved and if it touched your vagina. Even if there is no penetration involved in the sex, if semen comes in contact with your vagina on fingers, clothing or any other object, pregnancy can occur. The chances in this case, are again, decreased, if clothing was involved the chance of pregnancy is even lower, nigh on nonexistent, but not impossible. If there was no semen or precum, there is no chance of pregnancy.
We had sex in water, am I pregnant?
While sperm can survive in water for a short time, unless the ejaculation occurred within your body, chances are very slim you are pregnant. If the semen was inside of you, the sex being within water will have no effect on your chances of pregnancy.
After you take all of the above into consideration, you should be able to calculate your own chances of getting pregnant– or being pregnant for that matter– to answer the question, ‘am I pregnant?”
Still have questions about your chances of getting pregnant? Drop me a comment, read in-depth about pregnancy probability statistics, or try our pregnancy chances quiz. Coming up next, when should you take a pregnancy test?
You may find riveting in the meantime:
Period While Pregnant: Can it Be?
Implantation Bleeding or Period: How do I know?
Negative Test, Missed Period, What gives?
Late Period, Early Period, Irregular Period: Oh, why?
Early Pregnancy Symptoms