Can You Get Pregnant from Precum? Precum Pregnancy Chances 38


Continuing with our exploration into pregnancy probability statistics, let’s start with situations involving precum (also known as pre-ejaculate). “Can you get pregnant from precum?” and “does precum contain sperm?” are pretty common questions in the chances of pregnancy realm. This because the pull-out method is both one of the oldest and most common forms of contraception. This isn’t because it’s exactly reliable (we’ll get to just how reliable it is a in a second), but because it’s free and it’s supposedly easy.

First off, what is precum and what’s it for?

Pre-ejaculate is a clear liquid that proceeds ejaculation in many cases. The amount of precum a man releases varies greatly, and he has absolutely no control over that release. It’s thought that the purpose of precum is to reduce the acidity of both a man’s urethra and a woman’s vagina as sperm do poorly in high-acid environments. It may also act to aid in lubrication.

Does precum contain sperm?

Surprisingly, there are very few studies on this subject. The few that do exist (I’m talking less than five) also don’t agree. A few studies (link for one, two, and three) found precum contains no sperm at all, but in the most recent study done in 2011, 37 percent of men produced samples that contained motile (capable of causing pregnancy) sperm. The number of sperm in these samples did vary, but for the most part was well below the quantity found in actual ejaculate. These men had urinated prior to sample collection.

Quick answer:

As the jury is still out, so to speak, most reputable sources will state that, yes, precum can contain sperm. That sperm may not be eliminated by urination.

What are the chances of pregnancy with precum?

The only data on this topic assumes vaginal sex (meaning it may not apply to things such as “grinding” or other situations where there was no penetration) in couples under 35. Unfortunately, there is also no data as far as by-the-act statistics, i.e. the chances of becoming pregnant from a single act involving only pre-cum. So, what do we know?

precum pregnancy chances can precum get you pregnant

A review in 2011 done by the Office of Population Research at Princeton University found with perfectly timed “pulling out” or the removal of the penis prior to true ejaculation 4 of every 100 couples (4 percent) will become pregnant within a year. As the pull-out method also leaves a high chance of error (not pulling out fast enough), the overall rate of pregnancy in couples who only use the pull-out method is 22 out of 100, or 22 percent, within a year.

A study done in 2002, also by the Office of Population Research, along with the Guttmacher Institute, broke that down into slightly shorter time frames with 7.8 percent becoming pregnant within 3 months, 11.3 percent by 6 months, 18.4 percent by 12 months (less than the estimate in 2011). This study didn’t separate “perfect use” from just average practice where lots of folks make mistakes.

If you average that all out to a monthly basis, you get around a 1 to 2 percent precum pregnancy chance as a likely statistic for a one-time incident during any given month.

Quick answer:

Chances of pregnancy from precum vary from about 4 to 22 percent assuming frequent intercourse over the course of a year. A single act likely holds a chance well below this.

This ignores intercourse timing, a topic we covered in part one of this series on pregnancy probability statistics if you missed it. You might also enjoy our pregnancy probability quiz.


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38 thoughts on “Can You Get Pregnant from Precum? Precum Pregnancy Chances

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I was wondering how likely would pregnancy be from precum without p and v penetration? Me and my gf had genital contact and I believe I masturbated the same day but no penetration. I don’t remember exactly but I believe I touched her vulva and possible vaginal opening but again no penetration. I did finger her too but different days and my hands were dry and the days I am concerned about were 6 and 7 days before ovulation. I know it’s a lot of info but im kinda worried. Would the masturbation before I did this make any difference. I’m really just wondering do you think she could be pregnant? I’d like all the details I can get so I don’t get myself into this situation again, thanks

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sperm only has a viability of around 5 days and doesn’t survive long on external surfaces like hands. Unless there was visible semen on your hands, pregnancy is very unlikely, more so being so far before ovulation.

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          That would pose a higher chance, yes, but pregnancy would still be unlikely given when the act occurred and that the chances of pregnancy with precum even with full penetration are under 4%.

  • Juan

    Hey
    I got these trojan condoms that are coated with Spermicide and I’m curious if they are more effective then regular condoms. I asked a few friends and they have told me theyre much better since it kills sperm and precum.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      There are actually no studies that suggest condoms with spermicide are any more effective than a regular condom used properly. You’ll also want to keep in mind condoms with spermicide degrade faster and so have a short shelf life while costing more. They can also cause allergic reactions for some and increase the risk of urinary tract infections in women.

  • Anon

    Hi, my girlfriend and I had unprotected sex July 16th, 18th, and 19th. Each of these times I was nowhere near finishing inside her and each time inside her lasted a minute and under, but it is very likely that I was pre ejaculating during intercourse. She doesn’t use any other contraceptive. Is there a chance of pregnancy? Her last period started July 10th but her cycles have been irregular so it’s hard to track ovulation. I also haven’t ejaculated since July 15th, not sure if that affects content of possible sperm in pre ejaculate.

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Irregular cycles come with a lower chance of pregnancy, but it’s impossible to say how low on a general level as everyone is different. Since she doesn’t have a regular cycle, you’re right in assuming it’s also impossible to say when she ovulated (or if) this cycle. Either way, with precum alone you’re looking at below 4 percent, likely far lower in this case.

  • Anonymous

    Hi so me and my gf had unprotected sex for our first time. I’m almost certain that I did not ejaculate inside her, but the danger of pre cum is still there so I’m worried. I made her take some ecp just a little over a day after we did the deed. Her last period was on June 29 which usually takes 30 days before her next period starts. We did the deed on July 9. What are the chances of her gettig pregnant?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      The chances of pregnancy with precum alone are less than 4%, you’d reduce that with the plan B use before ovulation, and the sex being a bit before mid-cycle (though still in plausible range as semen could survive up to day 15 with sex being cycle day 10). Overall there’s not no chance, but it’s a very low chance.

    • Grace Klausing

      My gf and I had unprotected sex but used the pullout method so I didn’t come inside of her. But, we are worried about precum getting her pregnant. We did it the 29th of June and she had her period the 17-23 of that month. She is due for her period in 3 days but sometimes she skips months. What are the chances she is pregnant.

      • Life with Gremlins admin

        The pullout method has a less than 4% of pregnancy, and it does sound like she may have been in a fertile time if she ovulated. If she often misses cycles she may not actually ovulate.

  • Jake

    me and my girlfriend were messing around one night. she was on her period but fixing to be off two days later. we never had sex. I never put it in. I just was “teasing” I guess you could say but I never put it in. I didn’t cum, but i’m not sure about pre cum. she took a plan b the next day. it’s been about two weeks now. she has experienced some blood but now long enough for a period. she looked it up. and most of the time it was bright red. but it only lasted two days. now her discharge is gooey and yellowish kind of. she’s only experienced the discharge today when she wiped once. she’s scared to death and I feel like she’s psyching herself out thinking she is. I need some help. is she pregnant??

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      The chances of pregnancy on a period are extremely low, and the chances of pregnancy with possible precum without penetration would be even lower. In my opinion there’s no chance of pregnancy here.

  • Juan

    Hey im a bit paranoid here and I need some help. I had sex with my gf preovulation day 14 and she’s ovulates on the 18. I of course used a condom on and did not ejaculate but after we finished I noticed some wetness at the base of my penis like whiteish fluid (where the condom ring is) Also sometimes while inercourse the condom slides up a just a little bit and I bring it down the base. So What worries is can precum leak out of the base? What are the chances of her being pregnant with just precum . Her period was due yesterday and I’m still waiting :/

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      It sounds like you may not have properly fitting condoms. Condoms labeled “snugfit” tend to be narrower and may stay on better for you. Too much lubricant (if you’re using it) can also lead to condom slipping. If you’re continuing to thrust after ejaculation, that’ll do it to. The chances of pregnancy with precum alone are less than 4% though, and yes, condoms can leak if improperly fitting or used.

  • Anonymous

    Me and my girlfriend had sex and I didn’t come I didn’t have a condom and she wasn’t on the pill what is the percent of her being pregnant?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      The chances of pregnancy on the pill are 1-3% or so, from precum alone less than 4%, timing would affect her chances too, but “very, very low” is a fair estimate. 🙂

  • Cole Anderson

    Me and my girlfriend were hooking up and I had masturbated a couple of hours before. She was on her period when we hooked up. It was the 4th day of her 24 day cycle and she had a tampon in. I can’t remember if my penis had precum on it or if it even touched her vagina but I’m still worried

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      The chances of pregnancy during a period are already very low. In this scenario, her running a 24-day cycle, she probably ovulates around day 12, making pregnancy possible, but not probable as early as day 7 or so (it may not even be possible to ovulate that early). Being your intercourse was on day 4, there’s no chance of pregnancy unless she had some fluke random ovulation, but again, it takes time for an egg to develop, before day 8 or so is arguably even possible. Couple that with the equally low chance of pregnancy from precum, and I think you’re in the clear. 🙂

  • Spencer

    hey. so me and my girlfriend were fooling around one night. she was on her second to last day on her period and i was rubbing my penis close to her vagina (not going in). I didn’t cum but I don’t know if I pre cum or not. she took a plan b the next day. what are the chances she is pregnant?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Pregnancy during a period like this is already highly unlikely, but with just external touching along with early-cycle plan B use, I’d say there’s no chance of pregnancy.

      • Spencer

        today she woke up and it looked like discharge in her panties but she peed and said there was a little light bleeding when she wiped… is that meaning implantation or her period is fixing to happen?? we’re stressing out over here…

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          Plan B use very frequently causes irregular bleeding as it’s hormone-based. Implantation takes a minimum of 6 days. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I had a hook up with a girl (one time thing) and I did not finish but am worried that pre-cum may have a chance. I know that it says it is more like 1-2% but she is on birth control with no days missed and it was 2 weeks before her ovulation period. She has an irregular period and had missed it frequently once up to 9-10 months since she works out and lifts heavy weights. Just wondering what the chances of it happening are and if there is no period what can that potentially mean?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Well, the chances of pregnancy with the pill are about 1-3%, the chances with precum alone are under 4%. On the pill you don’t ovulate, that’s part of the pills job. Her lack of periods are a good sign that it’s effective for her as well. In my opinion, it’s very, very, very unlikely she’ll become pregnant.I can’t, of course, give you a for sure statistic, I’m not a probability generator, but I’d put it below 1%.

  • Juan

    Small help so i messed around with my girlfriend just rubbing my penis on her vulva i almost kinda penetrated in her vagina but i didn’t and i had some precum of course but her ovulation was 8 days ago. any chances of pregnancy ? thanks

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If she ovulated 8 days ago, no, the egg would be long dead by then and her next ovulation would be too far off.

  • Juan

    Hey so my girlfriend went to the ER and made her take a pregnancy test. They prescribed her with antibodies and Ibuprofen because she has abcess and pain. But she told me she overheard that hopefully she’s not positive. She got me a bit worried but me and her always have safe sex (pullout and condom simultaneously) and also I assume she’s not pregnant because they prescribed her medicine. So Should I be worried? Is the hospital pregnancy test even accurate? Her period is supposed to come in a few days her last period was on April 2. Thank you

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Most antibiotics can be taken while pregnant. Ibuprofen is also ok, so no, the prescription itself isn’t enough to rule out pregnancy. I’d imagine they would have told her if her results were positive though. If it was several days before her period was due, then yes, it would also be possible to get a false negative (more likely with a urine test than a blood test). The goods news is if you’re using condoms and pulling out, the chances of pregnancy there are extremely low either way. I wouldn’t worry about it unless her period doesn’t show.

      • Juan

        Well good news she got her period on May 2 and she still right now But it’s very light she said so hopefully it’s not implantaion bleeding. Thanks

  • cookieeboo

    Had a period from the 2nd started with spotting heavy flow on the 3rd now on the 4th am spotting. Could that be a sign of pregnancy

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sometimes a lighter than usual period can be a result of pregnancy, but it’s less common than just a regular light period (which are normal on occasion).

  • Brian

    Hello I have a small question. Before me and my lady had protected sex , we were fooling around and while I was touching her down there I noticed this like a cloudy white colored boogerish texture. It wasent see through at all and it was very sticky. I did some small research and read it’s her ovulation period. If it’s very white and thick texture she’s infertile. If shes very wet and have egg white discharge she’s fertile. Just need some clarification thanks 🙂

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      While aroused discharge is normal and can vary from woman to woman, to determine fertility she would need to pay attention to her discharge on a daily basis or cycle timing can also be effective to estimate ovulation.

  • Juan

    Hey there I’m just worried about if precum can leak out of the condom during sex? I say this because while changing poses during sex I saw a white substance (looks like sperm) near the base of the condom and it was alot. I also read that the penis can sweat and also combined with the lube form the condom makes that egg white substances but I’m still not sure if it’s true. Also The condom was well fit not loose nor tight but I’m still worried since there was a lot of movement. Thanks!

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      I’ve never heard of lubricant being the cause, but female discharge depending on the timing of the intercourse within your cycle can appear white and creamy similar to semen. Assuming he knows he didn’t ejaculate, that’s a likely explanation. If he did ejaculate, it’s possible it was semen, more so if he continued to thrust after ejaculation. Precum shouldn’t leak anymore than semen would (less so because precum is often less copious).

      • Juan

        Oh I forgot to mention two things Sorry 🙁 but there was no ejaculation at all and the white substance was inside the condom near the base . But Im sorta over it since I’m not having any symptoms lol thank you for the advice